The impact that smoking has on Oklahoma amounts to about $1 billion in medical expenses and almost $2 billion in lost productivity, according to a report released Friday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its annual Tobacco Control State Highlights report on Friday, noting that billions of dollars and thousands of lives are lost each year to smoking and smoking-related illnesses.
Tobacco is a major contributor to many of the leading causes of death in Oklahoma, including heart attacks, cancer, strokes and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), said Jennifer Mullens, who works in tobacco prevention at the state Health Department.
“If we were to reduce the smoking prevalence in the state, it would logically follow that we would see positive declines in these smoking-related illnesses, which are responsible for the vast majority of deaths in our state,” Mullens said.
The report notes that 26 states and the District of Columbia have passed comprehensive smoke-free laws.
Although many local governments have implemented “strong smoke-free laws, there are still 24 states that provide inadequate protection from secondhand smoke exposure,” according to the report.
To get help
Jennifer Mullens said Oklahoma residents wanting to quit smoking can call (800) 784-8669 for information on available resources.