Feb 13, 2012
An excellent Editorial by Theodore King published Feb 9, 2012 in The Norman Transcript
(Theodore J. King is the author of The War on Smokers and the Rise of the Nanny State)
NORMAN — The Jan. 29 editorial “The high cost of tobacco” claimed that tobacco use costs Oklahomans a lot of money, but it did not disclose the fact that tobacco use produces a lot of money for Oklahomans, which — in the interest of being fair — should be disclosed.
For example, in 2011, those who used tobacco paid $101,702,935 in tobacco taxes. Moreover, those taxes help fund Insure Oklahoma, the state-sponsored insurance supplemental program that assists small businesses, which are thereby able to offer health insurance to their employees, making the state a more attractive place to do business.
The Department of Health can’t have it both ways: Funding health insurance with tobacco taxes and then turning around and demonizing tobacco use. If fewer people smoke, then less money goes into that fund.