Washington, D.C., — Today, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill into law that will increase the price of cigarettes by $1.50 per pack. In addition to funding state health initiatives, full implementation of this increase can generate significant revenue for Oklahoma.
A statement from Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN, follows:
“The $1.50 increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes in Oklahoma will help to discourage tobacco use and save lives from cancer and other serious tobacco-related diseases in the state. Research shows that regular and significant tobacco price increases are one of the most effective ways to encourage tobacco users to quit and protect young people from becoming addicted.
“The cigarette price increase in Oklahoma makes a strong statement that reducing the use of this deadly product should be a priority across the country. If appropriately implemented and enforced, the extra $1.50 cost per pack will save an estimated 16,700 lives in Oklahoma and keep more than 28,000 kids from becoming addicted adult smokers. The increase is also expected to prompt more than 30,000 adult smokers in the state to quit, all while saving Oklahoma an estimated $1.22 billion in long-term health care costs.
“In addition to funding state health initiatives, this increase has the potential to generate significant revenue for the state. Cigarettes cost Oklahoma more than $1.62 billion in direct medical costs and $2.1 billion in lost productivity every year.
“Tobacco is the number one preventable cause of death nationwide, and is expected to claim the lives of more than 480,000 Americans this year alone. Considering that one third of all cancer deaths can be attributed to tobacco use, reducing its consumption is absolutely critical in the fight against cancer.
“Gov. Fallin made the right decision for the health of Oklahomans when she signed this cigarette price increase into law. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) urges lawmakers in states still considering a significant increase in the price of tobacco products to follow Oklahoma’s lead to improve both health of their residents, as well as their state budgets.”