Thursday, September 25, 2008

OK Health Commissioner to Retire

Sad news from the OK Department of Health. Dr. Crutcher has been a wonderful champion of health and a good friend to the American Heart Association. We certainly wish him well.

State health commissioner to retire

From Staff Reports

Dr. Michael Crutcher will retire as the head of the state Department of Health early next year, his office announced today.
Crutcher has served the post since being appointed by the state Board of Health in November 2003, replacing Dr. Leslie Beitsch. He first joined the agency in 1995, serving as the state's epidemiologist for six years and then as a deputy commissioner of disease and prevention services before assuming the role of health commissioner.

State Board of Health President Barry L. Smith said the board will begin a nationwide search for Crutcher's replacement, according to a news release issued by the department.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dark Chocolate is Good for the Heart

Good news, chocolate lovers! A new study confirms earlier findings that a small amount of dark chocolate daily can help prevent heart disease.

Now don't let this be an excuse to overdo it--the study found the ideal amount was 6.7 grams per day, about the same as one chocolate bar per week. But if you just need that quick little dark chocolate fix in the afternoon, now you can know that you're doing your heart good.

Smoking Restrictions Are Good for Business!

A new study of Oklahoma tax data shows what we've known all along--that smoke-free air is good for business! The report found that, since Oklahoma's smoke-free restaurant law took effect in 2006, restaurant business is up 5.6%!

This directly contradicts the tobacco industry's assertions that smoking bans drive smokers away, harming restaurant and bar businesses. We will definitely need to make sure that our lawmakers hear the truth about smoking economics as we work to make Oklahoma a smoke-free state in 2009.

Take action today and tell your lawmakers to support your right to breathe clean air!


Oklahoma State Department of Health
1000 NE Tenth St., Oklahoma City, OK 73117-1299
James M. Crutcher, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner of Health and State Health Officer

For Release: September 23, 2008

Contact: Pamela Williams

Office of Communications


Oklahoma Restaurants Not Adversely Impacted by Smoking Laws

Smoking restrictions in Oklahoma restaurants have had no adverse economic effect on restaurant business in the state, according to a report released today by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The report, authored by associate professor of economics Dr. Fritz Laux at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, marks the fifth anniversary of Oklahoma’s current smoking laws on Sept. 1, 2008.

“Our report found that there was no negative impact on restaurants related to the change from smoking to smoke-free,” Laux stated. “As in previous objective studies of similar changes in other places, the effects on restaurant sales and employment were neutral to slightly positive.”

Both sales and employment in Oklahoma restaurants increased, not decreased, following the March 1, 2006, transition from smoking to nonsmoking, with sales up 5.63 percent for the next 12 months. These increases, both with and without controlling for changes in overall economic conditions, paralleled those in Kansas, which had no changes in its state smoking laws during the period studied.

Oklahoma’s current smoking laws were adopted in 2003 and became effective for many public places and indoor workplaces on Sept. 1, 2003, though restaurants did not have to comply until March 1, 2006.

The current laws include loopholes exempting part or all of certain places, including smoking rooms in restaurants and all space within stand-alone bars, even though these are workplaces with concentrated levels of secondhand smoke. A bill was recommended by senate committee in 2008 to repeal the exemptions, which would make all public places and indoor workplaces smoke-free. However, that legislation did not pass in the form proposed.

Efforts are expected again in the 2009 legislative session to repeal Oklahoma’s smoking exemptions in an endeavor to improve the health status of Oklahomans and to prevent needless premature deaths and illnesses caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.

“All workers deserve protection from secondhand smoke in indoor workplaces in Oklahoma,” said Secretary of Health and Commissioner of Health Dr. Michael Crutcher. “Momentum is mounting to assure smoke-free public places and workplaces in Oklahoma,” he said. “It’s time to close the loopholes to bring our state in line with 25 other states and with hundreds of cities that have already adopted laws for totally smoke-free restaurants and bars.”

“These smoke-free laws and ordinances reflect both public opinion and also the growing knowledge among elected officials that the medical evidence overwhelmingly shows secondhand smoke to be a serious health hazard,” Crutcher continued. “In Oklahoma, it is a sad fact that approximately 700 deaths of nonsmokers annually are attributed to secondhand smoke. This exposure is entirely preventable in public places and indoor workplaces. It’s about health, and it’s about time for Oklahoma to close these loopholes.”

To access the report online, visit this Web site:


Friday, September 19, 2008

From CNN: Alabama to link premium costs to workers' health

An interesting new program in Alabama--they're going to start making state employees who don't monitor their health risks pay higher insurance premiums.

It'll be interesting to see if this reaches the goal of getting state workers to see their doctors and take charge of their health.

Save 20% at Macy's on 9/20


On Saturday, Sept. 20, Macy's stores nationwide will host a Shop For A Cause charity shopping day. Donations will benefit Go Red For Women and other local nonprofit organizations.

Customers who make a $5 donation will receive an all-day savings pass for select merchandise* in-store and on

Make your donation online and print your savings pass in advance to ensure your donation goes to Go Red For Women and the critical fight to wipe out the No. 1 killer of women — heart disease. (TIP:Check the "Other" box on the donation page and type in $5.)

Once you've made your minimum $5 donation, you'll be sent a confirmation e-mail with the savings pass attached. Just print the pass from that e-mail and bring it with you to your Macy's store Sept. 20.

Monday, September 15, 2008

All Oklahomans Deserve Smoke-Free Air!

Next year, Oklahoma lawmakers will consider legislation to give all Oklahomans the right to breathe smoke-free air.

Please take action and tell your lawmakers to support this important legislation!

Our state's current smoking laws have too many loopholes, protect too few Oklahoma workers and result in unnecessary deaths in our state. Now is the time to tell our lawmakers to protect the health of ALL Oklahomans.

Please take action today!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More than $15 million certified for anti-tobacco efforts

eCapitol News
OK-More than $15 million certified for anti-tobacco efforts
Author :
Erin Boeckman

Date :

(OK) With $15.5 million in earnings certified by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund Board of Investors, the endowment now has more funding for anti-tobacco and health initiatives.

"This certification reflects an increase of $5.1 million or 50 percent over the funds made available last year from investment of Oklahoma's share of the tobacco settlement," said State Treasurer Scott Meacham in a news release. "Our investment strategy is paying off."

Meacham met with other board of investors' members during a special meeting Tuesday to certify the endowment's earnings. The increase in funds was attributed to investment changes undertaken by the board of investors to manage Oklahoma's share of the national Master Settlement Agreement. Specifically, Meacham negotiated new investment contracts to cut the fees paid, and the portfolio was redistributed to generate additional certified earnings while protecting the principal value of the fund, according to the treasurer's news release.

The Oklahoma Constitution limits the tobacco settlement to spending only actual earnings. Seventy-five percent of Oklahoma's share of the Master Settlement Agreement is placed into the endowment each year while the remaining 25 percent is appropriated by the Legislature. While the board of investors manages the investment of the endowment, a separate board of directors makes decisions regarding the allocation of the endowment funds.

"This increased funding will help us provide more program funding to improve the health of Oklahomans," said Kenneth Rowe, chairman of the board of directors for the endowment, in the treasurer's news release. "Once again the board of investors should be commended for their outstanding work on behalf of the state of Oklahoma."

The board of directors' goals include improving the overall health of Oklahomans by reducing tobacco use, improving nutrition and fitness among Oklahomans and addressing opportunities to promote health in Oklahoma, primarily through tobacco control or nutrition and fitness. One of the programs being funded through endowment funds is the Oklahoma tobacco helpline, which was launched in 2003 as a telephone-based counseling service for Oklahomans who want to quit using tobacco. Funds are also used on education and counter-marketing campaigns, according to the endowment trust's Web site.

The endowment currently contains more than $422 million, according to the treasurer's news release. Voters approved creation of the endowment fund in 2000. Each year the board of investors certifies actual dividends and interest earned on the endowment after investment fees are paid. Since its creation, more than $45 million in earnings have been generated by the board of investors. Oklahoma remains the only state with a constitutionally protected endowment to fund programs to reduce tobacco use and improve the health of Oklahomans.

In other business, the board of investors on Tuesday approved changes to the endowment's investment policy. The board approved a change in the benchmark for international investments and investment guidelines for equity investments, said Tim Allen, deputy treasurer for policy and administration.

The board also approved a securities fraud monitoring proposal presented by Nix Patterson & Roach LLP, a Texas-based law firm. The firm will monitor the endowment's investments for possible fraud at no cost to the state, Allen said. The firm will inform the board of investors if potential fraud is found, and costs may be incurred if litigation is pursued, he said.

The board of investors is scheduled to meet again Nov. 19.

You're the Cure-Oklahoma. Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved Revolution Two Church theme by Brian Gardner Converted into Blogger Template by Bloganol dot com