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The Real Cost of Tobacco

In Oklahoma, tobacco comes with a hefty price tag — costing nearly $1.62 billion in excess healthcare costs, $2.1 billion in productivity losses and $264 million in Medicaid costs each year. However, the real price tag of tobacco can’t be measured in dollars.

Currently, Oklahoma ranks among the nation’s unhealthiest states, and tobacco use is a major contributor. In fact, tobacco use in Oklahoma exceeds the national average in several key categories, including youth and adult smoking rates, smokeless tobacco usage and secondhand smoke exposure.

While tobacco use places a major financial burden on Oklahoma, its biggest impact is on the lives of the state’s citizens. With 7,500 adults dying each year from smoking-related illnesses, and 88,000 kids under 18 ultimately dying prematurely from smoking, families are hit the hardest.

Tobacco takes a toll on the health of nonsmokers, too. Every year in the U.S., the 7,000 chemicals and 70 carcinogens found in secondhand smoke cause approximately 7,300 lung cancer deaths and nearly 34,000 heart disease deaths.

In fact, tobacco kills more people than alcohol, murder, car crashes, AIDS, illegal drugs and suicide — combined.

Taking steps toward a tobacco-free Oklahoma can help improve the health of the state’s citizens. Smoking cessation programs like the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline are helping thousands of Oklahomans quit tobacco. Smoking-prevention programs are being established at businesses and organizations. Coalitions are also being formed to reduce the toll of tobacco in their communities. Even businesses like restaurants and bars are voluntarily becoming smokefree.

When everyone comes together, the future of Oklahoma can change for the better. To learn more about the real cost of tobacco and how to promote change, visit StopsWithMe.com.

If you use tobacco and are thinking about quitting, contact the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-QUIT NOW or OKhelpline.com.