OK Criticized For Smoking Prevention Spending

Monday, January 8th 2018, 8:16 am
By: Grant Hermes

A national campaign against tobacco is criticizing Oklahoma for not doing enough to stop children from smoking.

The criticism is coming from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids inside its latest Broken Promises report. 

The report said that Oklahoma is spending less than half the recommended amount of money to prevent kids from smoking.

According to the CDC, states should be spending roughly $42 million and Oklahoma is spending just $19 million despite collecting nearly $390 million from last fiscal year's tobacco tax revenue. 

Oklahoma has made strides in recent years to decrease the number of teen smokers but is still outpacing the national average with 15 percent of high school students saying they smoke.

That high smoking rates also contributes to Oklahoma's low health rankings and high hospital bills. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids estimates Oklahomans spent $1.6 billion in 2017 on medical bills directly related to smoking. 

Most states do not reach the CDC's recommended amount of spending to curb smoking. 

"This year's spending is in line with what Oklahoma has been spending for several years. Oklahoma remains in the top 10 states investing in preventing and reducing tobacco use," TSET spokeswoman Julie Bisbee said in a statement.