ALBANY, NY – FEBRUARY 1, 2023 – Earlier today New York State Governor Kathy Hochul released her proposed budget for 2023. In response, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Senior New York Government Relations Director Michael Davoli, released the following statement:
ACS CAN Oklahoma Opposes 75-cent Cigarette Tax Increase Proposal
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network strongly opposes the proposal to raise Oklahoma’s cigarette tax by only 75 cents per pack.
Tobacco tax increases, when implemented correctly, decrease the number of youth who start smoking, increase the number of smokers who quit, cut health care costs, and reduce deaths from lung and other cancers, heart diseases, strokes and other preventable, chronic diseases.
Big Tobacco admitted as much in their own arguments filed with the State Supreme Court last June when they argued that a $1.50-per-pack fee increase proposed at the time would “likely decrease sales of [our] cigarettes in Oklahoma.”
But when the tax increase falls under $1, tobacco companies have demonstrated in other states that they can undermine smaller increases with coupons and discounts designed to ensure their most vulnerable customers (children, pregnant women and low-income Oklahomans) stay addicted to their deadly products.
“Research shows that small price increases do not change consumer behavior, and tobacco companies know it,” said ACS CAN Oklahoma Government Relations Director Justin Wood. “That is why Big Tobacco has supported small cigarette tax increases in other states in their efforts to preempt more impactful cigarette tax increases from passing in the future.”
Oklahoma has the ninth-highest proportion of smoking-related cancer deaths in the United States, and there are 88,000 Oklahoman children alive today who will eventually die prematurely from smoking if nothing is done to prevent it. Our end goal is to save lives and stop preventable death and chronic disease caused by tobacco products, and that is why we do not support the proposed tax. We urge legislators to work in a bipartisan manner and put the health of Oklahoma’s kids first by passing $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax increase without further delay.