In the past, the tobacco industry was seen as big business. Ads for cigarettes were everywhere, and smoking brought in a ton of revenue for every state. However, in recent years it has come to light the number of health issues and deaths that smoking causes, and smoking is now one of the leading causes of death and disease in the United States. While the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products used to be seen as a good thing for each state, it is now known that tobacco products actually end up costing states money for a variety of reasons.
It is because of the financial drain that cigarettes and tobacco have become that many are now switching their focus toward the vaping industry, including advertisers and individual vape shop businesses. So why exactly is smoking costing Oklahoma so much money and why are businesses and advertisers switching over to vaping as an alternative? The answer is simple: health.
The Financial Impact of Smoking in Oklahoma
According to data collected by the state of Oklahoma, between 2000 and 2020 the state of Oklahoma collected some $4 billion in taxes from tobacco companies and their products as well as an additional $1.6 billion in settlement payments from lawsuits against the major tobacco companies over health concerns associated with their products.
While this tax money was initially to the benefit of the state, between anti-smoking campaigns and rising health costs, the financial impact of smoking and the tobacco industry has been devastating to the state.
Studies show that smoking and smoking-related illnesses are still the number one cause of death in Oklahoma beating out obesity and heart disease combined. What this has led to is a massive spike in the average cost of healthcare for individuals as the costs to care for smokers’ illnesses affects everyone in Oklahoma.
These costs have taken away from other programs that could have benefited from those funds and has led to a shift in focus towards vaping and vape related products as not only a safer health alternative for those addicted to smoking but also as a financial resource to recoup the losses from tobacco.
Why is Vaping the Better Choice?
When it comes to health consequences, vaping is the clear winner. Vaping is a cleaner and healthier choice because it does not contain any of the harmful chemicals and additives that cigarettes contain that result in lung disease and other health problems. There are also no carcinogens because there is no burning of material during a vape; the only emission is water vapor.
The CDC has also recently reversed a ruling saying that vaping was the cause of an outbreak of lung disease and death. Vaping is a safe alternative to smoking and may ultimately lead those addicted to nicotine to be able to quit entirely.
The additional benefit of revenue from the vaping industry may also help to offset the losses caused by the tobacco industry and improve the economy of Oklahoma in the process. It is hoped that the decline in smokers will continue as vaping offers a safer alternative.