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NAQC Newsroom: Tobacco Control

UPDATE FROM OKLAHOMA: FALLIN SHOWS BOLD LEADERSHIP WITH TOBACCO USE BAN, HEALTH PROPOSALS

Thursday, February 09, 2012  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information contact: Julie Bisbee, julieb@tset.ok.gov 
Direct: 405-521-4992 Cell: 405-301-3693

Fallin shows bold leadership with tobacco use ban,
health proposals

OKLAHOMA CITY(Feb. 6, 2012)Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday presented bold and positive proposals to improve the health of all Oklahomans in her State of the State address.

These policy proposals and reforms will help our state continue to improve our health indicators. Only two other states –Mississippi and Louisiana– have worse health outcomes thanOklahoma, according rankings from the United Health Foundation. Heart disease is the leading cause of death inOklahomaand many of the diseases that plague Oklahomans are due to unhealthy lifestyles.

Fallin’s executive order to prohibit tobacco use on state-owned and leased properties will impact countless Oklahomans and raises the bar for a reduction of tobacco use inOklahoma. The executive order, signed by Fallin on Monday, goes into effect in six months.

"It is a historic day for the state and people ofOklahoma,” said Tracey Strader, executive director of the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET). "Policies like Governor Fallin’s executive order have been proven to reduce tobacco use and protect the public and workers from exposure to secondhand smoke.”

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. Tobacco-free policies have little cost associated with them and create an environment that promotes healthy choices.

"There are already very effective, free resources in place to help employers support tobacco-using employees and help people quit in preparation for this new policy,” Strader said.

TSET and its partners have worked to provides resources at the state and local level to help Oklahomans quit smoking. Those resources includeOklahoma’s toll-free tobacco 1-800-QUITNOW,OKHelpline.com, and SmokefreeTXT.gov. Tobacco cessation treatment is a covered benefit for all state employees insured through HealthChoice or the state’s contracted HMO plans.

"We applaud Governor Fallin’s efforts and know that simply telling people to live healthier lives is not enough,” Strader said. "We cannot ignore personal responsibility in the health debate. However, strong policy decisions like those promoted by Governor Fallin support environmental change that empowers Oklahomans to begin making healthier decisions.”

For the past 11 years, the TSET has used investment earnings from funds received as part of a multi-state settlement with the tobacco industry to work on ways to improve the health of Oklahomans. Community-based grants aimed at cutting down on tobacco use and improving fitness and nutrition impact more than 85 percent of our state’s population. TSET funds are also invested in cutting-edge research to treat cancer and other tobacco-related diseases, and a variety of innovative broad-based projects to transformOklahoma’s health status.

# # #

TSET, a constitutional endowment trust committed to improving the health of the Oklahomans, was created by an overwhelming majority vote of the people in 2000. The foresight ofOklahomavoters is beginning to make a substantial impact through community grants, in combination with the other research and programs funded by TSET, including theOklahomaTobacco Helpline (1-800-QUIT-NOW). Funding from TSET will be available to create better lives through better health for generations to come. To learn more go to: www.tset.ok.gov.

PDF version of the press release
Copy of the executive order

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