Cigarette Tax Increases

Good for our economy. Better for our health.

When cigarette prices rise, tens of thousands of people quit smoking. Countless numbers of kids never start. Millions of dollars are saved in healthcare costs and lost productivity. Most importantly, lives are saved.

Increasing the price of cigarettes and other tobacco products positively affects kids, families, communities, businesses and the entire state as a whole.

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In July 2018, a historic piece of legislation increased Oklahoma’s cigarette tax from $1.03 to $2.03. The increase has elevated Oklahoma into the upper third for cigarette tax rates among all U.S. states. As a result, in July 2019, cigarettes sales were down 25% – a reduction of nearly 60 million packs sold – and state revenues from the tax had increased $133.3 million year over year.

While this progress is phenomenal, there are still opportunities for even more change.

Health Benefits

Tobacco tax increases are one of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use, especially among kids. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in Oklahoma, a $1.50 price increase in the cigarette tax would:

  • Prevent 28,200 youth from becoming adult smokers
  • Encourage 30,400 adults to quit smoking
  • Prevent 16,700 future smoking-caused deaths
  • Save the state $1.22 billion in future healthcare costs

Economic Benefits

Fewer smokers means fewer smoking-related cases of lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes, as well as fewer smoking-affected pregnancies and births. After just 5 years, this would result to substantial healthcare cost savings to Oklahomans:

  • Fewer Lung Cancer Cases = $5.49 million saved
  • Fewer Heart Attacks & Strokes = $10.88 million saved
  • Healthier Pregnancies & Births = $12.05 million saved
  • Total = $28.42 million saved

With fewer smokers, fewer kids will be exposed to secondhand smoke too — resulting in fewer earaches, lung infections, asthma attacks and missed school days throughout childhood.

The long-term healthcare cost savings from the decline in adult and youth smoking totals $1.22 billion.

Proof It Works

After a tobacco price increase in 2004, cigarette sales in Oklahoma dropped by 11% the following year. This resulted in a 23% drop in smoking among our most vulnerable youth.

Cigarette price increase = drop in youth smoking

Whether you are considering Oklahoma’s health status or the economy, a small price increase on cigarettes has a huge, positive impact on the future of our youth.


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