Oklahoma Earns Passing Grades for Tobacco Prevention and Cessation; Fails on Other Measures

American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control” report releases Oklahoma grades for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco.

A new report from the American Lung Association urges Oklahoma lawmakers to focus on indoor smoking and tobacco retailer compliance to reduce the burden of tobacco use. The 2024 “State of Tobacco Control” report evaluates state and federal policies on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use and recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives. Oklahoma received two “F” grades, one “D” grade and two “A” grades for policies to improve statewide efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of death in Oklahoma and across the country and takes the lives of 7,490 state residents each year. The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of Oklahoma lives, so we must push forward in our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Charlie Gagen, Advocacy Director for the American Lung Association in Oklahoma.

Despite receiving more than $491 million from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, Oklahoma does not do enough to hold tobacco retailers accountable for sales to minors. Additionally, the state does not even require a license to sell addictive e-cigarette products. The Lung Association urges Governor Stitt and the Legislature to license all tobacco retailers and increase funding for compliance programs.

Additionally, the state should repeal preemption on local government authorities and pass a comprehensive smokefree law. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Passing a comprehensive smokefree law that eliminates smoking in all public places and workplaces, including restaurants, bars and casinos, would protect workers across the state from deadly secondhand smoke.

Oklahoma Grades

The “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. In the 2024 report, Oklahoma received the following grades:

  1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade A*
  2. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade F
  3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade D
  4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade A
  5. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F
    *State Funding for Tobacco Prevention Programs grades in “State of Tobacco Control” reflect actions taken by elected officials and do not reflect on the hard work of state tobacco control programs or advocates.

Federal Grades Overview

This year’s report focuses on recent federal actions, including President Biden’s failure to finalize rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, as well as FDA’s overdue review of all applications for e-cigarette products, including flavors that are popular among youth. Because of the delay on the federal rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, it is even more important for states to enact laws to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

The 2024 “State of Tobacco Control” report grades the federal government in five areas:

  • Federal Government Regulation of Tobacco Products – Grade C
  • Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments – Grade D
  • Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  • Federal Mass Media Campaigns to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use – Grade: A
  • Federal Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Incomplete*

*FDA remains grossly overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute, which is why it earns an “incomplete.” 

The Lung Association calls on the White House to urgently finalize rules to end the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the U.S. to save lives now. Send an email to President Biden at Lung.org/Stop-Menthol to insist these rules be finalized urgently. To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc.

For more information, contact:

Oklahoma Media Contact

[email protected]

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