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FOR RELEASE: January 19, 2004
CONTACT: Leslea Bennett-Webb
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Media Advisory

News Conference Scheduled Wednesday on Proposed Increase in State Cigarette Tax

What: News Conference sponsored by the Oklahoma Alliance on Health or Tobacco and the national Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
When: 9 a.m. Wednesday, January 21
Where: State Capitol, Room 432A
Featuring:
  • Joy Leuthard, Chair, Oklahoma Alliance on Health or Tobacco
  • Danny McGoldrick, Director of Research, national Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
  • Dr. Robert McCaffree, Past Chair, Board of Directors, Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust
  • Dr. Mike Crutcher, State Health Commissioner
Background: This news conference will provide information on recent statewide bipartisan polling data conducted in Oklahoma by the national Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. These data confirm that Oklahomans significantly support a proposed $1 increase in the state’s cigarette tax to reduce smoking among Oklahoma youth and to provide additional revenue for health care in Oklahoma.

Currently, Oklahoma’s cigarette excise tax is 23 cents per pack, ranking Oklahoma 42nd among all states. Oklahoma last increased the cigarette tax in 1987. A $1 cigarette tax increase would prevent 53,000 fewer kids in Oklahoma from becoming smokers and would provide $256 million in new revenue in the first year alone.

Substantial evidence now exists that indicates that increasing the price of tobacco products decreases the prevalence of tobacco use, particularly among youth and young adults. Even so, data also confirm that states that increase state cigarette taxes always raise state revenues, despite reducing pack sales.

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