Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:43 am
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last month, Gov. Mary Fallin announced her plans to support an initiative petition in 2014 to change the way tobacco is regulated in Oklahoma.
“A direct vote to the people is very new, and is a dramatic new tactic to repeal tobacco control preemption in Oklahoma,” said Michael Givel, a University of Oklahoma political scientist and the co-author of the upcoming book Heartland Tobacco War, out this summer.