Whether it's counted as a hit or a miss, Thursday's Oklahoma Supreme Court's decision to overturn a $1.50 per-pack fee on cigarettes did not fail to cause a stir.

Whether it's counted as a hit or a miss, Thursday's Oklahoma Supreme Court's decision to overturn a $1.50 per-pack fee on cigarettes did not fail to cause a stir.

With its back firmly in a corner, the state has been struggling to find ways to boost revenue. Most of the court justices stated they believed that to be the underlying motivation behind the fee.

The projected estimation of more than $250 million a year through cigarette cessation fee would have served as a hefty plug in an $878 million hole in the budget.

The fallout from the court's decision is that it leaves the state still facing the conundrum of how to avoid catastrophic cuts to state agencies and services.

Lawmaker reactions

Lawmakers offered some opinions on the decision:

“State Sen. Ron Sharp said, “The State Supreme Court decision against the cigarette cessation effectively removes $186-plus million from proportional budgets of Department of Human Services, Health Care Authority and Mental Health. This is another three-percent cut from agencies already suffering from a lack a funding — this must be addressed by the legislature.”

District 26 House Rep. Dell Kerbs said, “The opinion (Thursday) from the Court, while disappointing, shows us that there is a great deal of work to be done to properly fund our public health programs. I look forward to working with the leadership of not only the House, but the Senate and the governor's office to hopefully find a quick and permanent solution to this core function of our government.”

District 27 House Rep. Josh Cockcroft, via Twitter, said, “Let's get to work. Time to do what is right and will set us on a better path. … While I don't personally agree with the ruling, I do have some observations: I am not a lawyer. I am a pastor...”

House Speaker Charles McCall said, "The court has made their ruling and now it is up to the governor and legislative leaders to agree on the best course of action moving forward. It is important to remember that the reason our budget has been suffering is because Oklahoma families and businesses have been struggling. State revenues are a reflection of the people of our state. When our citizens have less money in their pockets to spend the state will realize less revenues.”

State Department of Health

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) issued a response, voicing its disappointment with the ruling.

“The tobacco companies profiting from cigarette smoking in Oklahoma understand the impact of this critical health policy,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Health and Human Services and Commissioner of Health Terry Cline, “In fact, they acknowledged in their court filings that the fee would likely reduce smoking in our state.”

Establishing the fee on cigarettes would have prevented 28,200 children from becoming adult smokers and would have resulted in more than 30,000 current smokers choosing to quit rather than pay the new fee, the press release states. In addition, it would have saved the state $1.2 billion dollars in long-term health costs and prevented 16,700 lives from ending prematurely due to smoking-related illnesses.