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American Lung Association critiques Oklahoma, other states on tobacco prevention

The American Lung Association released a report Wednesday that said most states aren't doing enough to prevent or reduce tobacco use. On a scale of A through F, the association gave most states either D's or F's in most categories.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: January 17, 2013

The American Lung Association also grades states on their cigarette taxes, coverage provided for tobacco cessation and smokefree air. Oklahoma received a C for its $1.03 cigarette tax. The state got a D for smoke-free air, or the state's smoking restrictions. And it received a C in cessation coverage, or what insurers in Oklahoma cover for people wanting to quit using tobacco.

Sward said tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.

And these measures are important because they're evidence-based models that are proven to help states reduce the number of people who smoke, she said.

“All of them have been proven to reduce smoking rates, and that is why the tobacco industry doesn't want to see any of them happen” “we're looking at meaningful items that will make a big difference in reducing tobacco use and the death and disease caused by tobacco use in the united states and in Oklahoma, and it's really up to all of our elected officials and other policymakers to summon the political will, to take us off this reckless money trail.”

The National Institute on Money in State Politics released a report “Big Tobacco Wins Tax Battles” on Wednesday simultaneously with the American Lung Association's report.

The institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that focuses on campaign money in state-level elections and public policy in each state in the United States.

In its report, the institute reported that tobacco donors contributed about $54 million in 2011 to 2012 to state-level candidates, political parties and ballot measure campaigns, the second-highest since 2005 to 2006, when that number totaled $96.6 million.

About 88 percent of that money went to campaigns in California. Four of the largest tobacco manufacturers, including Philip Morris USA, Reynolds American Inc., U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. and Altria, gave more than half of the money, or $47.4 million, of all the tobacco money given to state campaigns, according to the report.

The report did not focus much on Oklahoma, but did report that from 2011 to 2012, the tobacco industry contributed $23,600 to candidates in Oklahoma. Meanwhile, health advocates contributed $1,250, according to the report.

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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