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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

Oklahoma is among many states failing to invest in programs that would reduce or prevent residents from using tobacco products, according to a report released Wednesday.

The American Lung Association's annual “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states on how they're working to fight tobacco use.

And most states, by the American Lung Association's standards, are failing.

“This report reveals a tragic money trail that leads to tobacco-caused death and disease, where states and federal government are failing to do what we know works to reduce tobacco use,” said Erika Sward, assistant vice president of national advocacy for the American Lung Association. “Oklahoma has a lot more work that needs to be done, but it is better off than many states.”

In 2012, two states — Alaska and North Dakota — earned A's for “sufficiently investing in their tobacco prevention and control programs,” according to the report. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia were given F's.

The report gauges whether a state is spending a sufficient amount of money on prevention programs by looking at whether the state spends the recommended amount from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Oklahoma was one of few states to get a D, instead of an F like the majority of states, in its tobacco prevention and tobacco control spending.

CDC recommends Oklahoma spend $45 million on tobacco prevention and control programs. Meanwhile, the state spends $22.5 million in state and federal money on these programs.

Tracey Strader remembers about 10 years ago when that CDC recommendation was about $22 million, where Oklahoma is at today.

“I understand the calculation, and that's an ideal formula, but I think all of us in Oklahoma are pretty conservative about what we put our money into, and we want to be sure we're going to get a return on investment, and that it's the best fit for our state for right now,” Strader said. “Certainly we could do more.”

During the 2012 fiscal year, 34 percent of the callers who used the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline who engaged in multiple coaching calls to quit smoking said they were successful in their quit attempt, according to TSET.

Callers are contacted seven months after their first coaching call and asked if they have had a cigarette in the past 30 days. During the 2012 fiscal year, more than 38,000 Oklahomans had called the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline.

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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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