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Fewer cigarettes sold but more tax dollars in Oklahoma

Oklahomans bought millions fewer cigarettes in the past fiscal year but a tobacco tax that began last July means the state collected more than $100 million from sales.

According to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, nearly 60 million fewer packs of cigarettes were sold in the fiscal year ending last Sunday, a roughly 25% drop from the prior year.

But commission director Paula Ross said the $1 per-pack cigarette tax generated $133 million in additional revenue, causing a net increase even with the sales decline.

Oklahoma Department of Health tobacco manager Christin Kirchendauer says the drop in sales indicates the state is moving in the right direction. Kirchendauer says the state is especially hoping for a drop in youth smoking.

The tax helped fund a teacher pay raise.

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