NORMAN — Oklahoma got another letter grade the other day. This one is lower than the education grade handed out earlier this month.
The state scored a “D” from the American Lung Association in the annual “State of Tobacco Control” report. Our tobacco prevention and control program funding, smoke-free air and cigarette tax rated a “D.” The state’s tobacco cessation coverage rated a “C.”
The state spent $22,530,946 on program funding. That’s just more than half of what the Centers for Disease Control recommends spending. The Lung Association reports that the failure to invest in programs has lead to three million new youth and young smokers in the United States.
In the same report, the Lung Association reports that tobacco manufacturers and retailers gave $53.4 million to state candidates for office and political parties to oppose tobacco-related ballot measures during the 2011-2012 election cycle.
A rerun of last year’s fight for local control of anti-tobacco laws is expected this legislative session. State health officials and others want to give cities the authority to make anti-tobacco laws stronger than the state laws. Retailers, mostly convenience stores, don’t want to comply with different sets of rules in different cities.