smoking

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

State Treasurer Ken Miller says Oklahoma's Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Board of Investors certified $52.7 million in annual earnings Thursday. The money will be used to fund the prevention and reduction of tobacco use and other health issues. 

“We are carefully investing the funds to ensure Oklahomans get the most benefit,” Miller said in a statement. “This certification reflects an increase of $13.6 million or 35 percent over the funds made available last year from Oklahoma’s share of the tobacco settlement.”

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The 2014 State of the State's Health Report released by the Oklahoma State Board of Health shows Oklahoma ranks 44th in overall health status of its residents compared to other states in the nation.

Unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors such as low physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption, along with a high prevalence of smoking and obesity, contribute to most of the state's leading causes of death. Significant health disparities among many of the state's population also contribute to Oklahoma's health status.

The report says, “Overall, Oklahoma has the fourth highest rate of death from all causes in the nation, 23 percent higher than the national rate. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that while Oklahoma’s mortality rate dropped five percent over the past 20 years, the U.S. mortality rate dropped 20 percent. So, Oklahoma is not keeping up with the rest of the nation.”

The annual study reports on a range of factors and details information by county.

The Ardmore Veterans Center, one of seven long-term care facilities for wartime veterans. Each center will be opened to peace-time veterans beginning Nov. 1.
Oklahoma Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Residents of Oklahoma's veterans' centers will be allowed to smoke on the property for a few more years under an agreement worked out between Gov. Mary Fallin, state lawmakers and the War Veterans Commission.

The House gave final approval on Wednesday to a bill that would designate all state-operated veterans' centers as nonsmoking effective Jan. 1, but allow the centers to designate outdoor smoking areas for residents until Jan. 1, 2018.

Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.

Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.

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Gov. Mary Fallin will wait until after the 2014 election to lead a petition drive to let voters decide whether to enact stricter smoking bans in their cities.

The Tulsa World reports Fallin, who is up for re-election, will wait until after next year's elections to lead the effort. A spokesman for Fallin says waiting gives the measure a better chance for success.

Smoking Rates Fall ln Oklahoma

Aug 23, 2013
MilitaryHealth / Flickr Creative Commons

The state Health Department says the number of adult smokers in Oklahoma has dropped to historically low levels.

According to an emailed news release, Oklahoma ranks 39 nationally for adult smoking rates in 2012. The state came in at number 47 the year before. By percentages, 23.3 percent of adults were smokers in 2012.

Health Commissioner Terry Cline calls it “fantastic” that Oklahoma is out of the bottom ten state for smoking rates.

That health department says smoking is Oklahoma's leading preventable cause of death.

Tobacco Funds Certified For Health Programs

Aug 22, 2013
AMagill / Flickr Creative Commons

The Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Board of Investors on Wednesday certified a little more than $35 million from the 2013 fiscal year to be used by the board of directors in FY14.

The Board of Investors manages investments of Oklahoma’s share of the Master Settlement Agreement and makes investment related decisions.

Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Executive Director Tracey Strader said the trust is primarily focused in obesity prevention and reducing tobacco use.

AMagill / Flickr Creative Commons

The last refuge for smokers at Will Rogers World Airport is slated to close this year.

The Oklahoman reports the Oklahoma City Airport Trust voted unanimously last week to shut down the smoking room at the airport on September 1st.

Airport spokeswoman Karen Carney says the smoking lounge sparked complaints from travelers as well as airport workers.

After the lounge is closed, smokers at the airport will have to go outside.

Smoking at Will Rogers also is banned up to 175 feet away from the entrance areas.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill Monday allowing cities and counties to restrict tobacco use at parks, libraries, golf courses, baseball fields and other properties beginning Nov. 1.

The bill by State Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Ardmore) and State Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore) also formalizes Fallin’s executive order issued last year banning tobacco use in state-owned buildings and on state property.

Ownbey says putting the governor’s executive order into statute needed to be done, and local control is something lawmakers always talk about.

State Property Smoking Ban Approved

Apr 23, 2013
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

The Oklahoma House has approved a bill that puts into state law Gov. Mary Fallin's executive order banning smoking on state property.

Fallin signed the executive order against smoking in state buildings last year. The House passed a bill 76-14 Tuesday that would expand the ban to properties that aren't buildings and would allow cities and counties to ban smoking on their properties.

The bill now goes to the governor for her signature.

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