Thursday, December 9, 2010

Surgeon General's Report reveals what we already know....tobacco kills!

The U.S. Surgeon General released a report today on the dangers of tobacco use. You can read the American Heart Association's statement on the report below. For a look at the full report go here:

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown says U.S. Surgeon General Report Stresses Importance of Cessation Strategies to Reduce Tobacco’s Deadly Toll

Washington, DC (December 9, 2010) - The U.S. Surgeon General’s report, “How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease,” sheds new light on the damaging effects of tobacco use on the health of all Americans. This comprehensive scientific report shows that even brief exposure to tobacco smoke can trigger acute cardiac events and potential sudden death. The evidence clearly states that tobacco products are lethal weapons capable of shortening the lifespan of smokers and nonsmokers alike. However, tobacco companies will stop at nothing to addict a new generation of smokers. They are ramping up efforts to fight regulations that restrict marketing campaigns and the sale of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products and designing new cigarettes to make them more addictive. This report provides more ammunition to fight their deceptive and deadly campaign.

We strongly believe the findings will support implementation of new federal tobacco regulations, including the development of graphic warning labels for cigarette packages. We also urge state officials to fund smoking prevention and cessation programs at CDC recommended levels, enact strong smoke-free policies and boost tobacco excise taxes. Policymakers must not allow complacency to rule in the fight against tobacco. Bold, aggressive measures are needed to save lives, reduce the burden of disease and improve quality of life.

To view the full report visit

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Smoke-Free Oklahoma gains positive coverage from the Oklahoman

The campaign to eliminate smoking in all workplaces has received another positive push this morning from Oklahoma's largest newspaper. The Oklahoman Editorial Board published a positive editorial this morning regarding the most recent push from the Oklahoma Municipal League to pass legislation that would allow cities to make the decisions when it comes to smoking in public.

You can read that editorial below. 

Latest anti-smoking push not likely to fail in Legislature
The Oklahoman Editorial

Published: December 1, 2010

The Oklahoma Municipal League asked this week for legislation that would allow cities and towns to set their own smoking bans, and there's little reason to think the effort will get scuttled during the 2011 session. Momentum for this change is strong and has been building for some time.

Health officials citing the dangers of secondhand smoke have long sought to make all restaurants in Oklahoma smoke free, even those that followed the law and invested in ventilation systems allowing for smoking and nonsmoking areas. A poll in March of this year showed 71 percent of Oklahomans favor eliminating all indoor smoking in public places, and more than half favor a statewide smoke-free law. There have at times been efforts to ban smoking in all public places, indoors or out.

Oklahoma is one of two states with pre-emption laws regarding tobacco where state tobacco law supersedes local laws. This means municipalities may not enact anti-smoking laws that are tougher than what's on the books at the state level.

The legislation sought by the Oklahoma Municipal League would change that. It has the backing of House Speaker-designate Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, who has been at the front of other health-related initiatives during his time at the Capitol.

Oklahoma is one of just three states where 25 percent of its residents smoke. This proposed change to state law seeks to reduce that number and leave Tennessee as the lone pre-emption state. Passage would surely do the latter; only time will tell if it would significantly affect the former.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Renewed effort to restore local rights regarding tobacco

Recently published an Op-Ed from Oklahoma's Commissioner of Health, Terry Cline, about the need to restore local rights to communities when passing tobacco policies. You can read it below.
BY TERRY CLINE Oklahoman 3

Published: November 21, 2010

Did you know that because of tobacco industry tactics in Oklahoma, the community where you live does not have the ability to adopt and enforce effective tobacco prevention ordinances?

AdvertisementIn 1987 and 1994, tobacco industry lobbyists at the state Capitol were successful in advocating for special clauses to be placed in state tobacco laws that took away the rights of Oklahoma communities to enact any tobacco-related ordinance stronger than state law.

Oklahoma is one of only two states with these stringent restrictions on tobacco issues. This means your community leaders cannot respond to local needs to develop tobacco prevention ordinances that would improve and protect the health of citizens, compete for new businesses and new residents, and create a healthier work force.

This year, restoring these essential local rights to communities is a legislative priority of the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan, the State Turning Point Council and the Oklahoma Municipal League. Also in strong support are dozens of other major organizations including the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Oklahoma State Medical Association, Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Oklahoma.

The measure has been formally endorsed by the State Board of Health, as well as the city-county boards of health for Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Restoring local rights on tobacco prevention policies would allow the opportunity for you and other citizens to engage in a meaningful local dialogue to help determine what's best for your community.

The only organizations that oppose this measure are tobacco companies or those closely affiliated with the tobacco industry. An argument offered by one major convenience store chain is that restoring local rights will place burdens and hardships on their stores. However, this same business, with stores in eight other states, operates almost entirely where there are no restrictions placed on local rights. Their arguments simply do not hold water. Internal industry documents prove that tobacco lobbyists and their partners are only trying to block local action and maintain all control over tobacco issues at the state level.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that improving the health of workers results in better fiscal health for employers. A growing number of Oklahoma communities and local chambers of commerce believe economic development through a healthier work force is vital to their continued growth. Reducing tobacco use among workers generates ongoing financial returns from reduced health care costs, increased on-the-job productivity, reduced health insurance costs and reduced absenteeism.

Oklahomans are known for our independence, yet we've allowed an industry to take away our local rights for their own profit. If you believe control of these issues should be at the local level rather than only at the state level, then now is the time to tell your legislators you want these key local rights restored.

Cline is Oklahoma's health commissioner.

Read more:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Let's step up to the plate and improve school meals

By: Dr. Robert DiBianco
Posted: Nov 09, 2010

Excess weight is commonplace in our society, and it's damaging the health of our kids who are eating more and exercising less. They're getting so large, that they're outgrowing age-appropriate clothing and are at times unable to fit comfortably in classroom chairs. With childhood obesity nowranked as one of the most prominent health concerns in the U.S., we have to address the issue promptly or we risk not being able to reverse this dangerous trend.

As a cardiologist, all too often I see the medical consequences of being obese. Increasingly youngsters now require daily medications to reduce the growing risk of vascular disease produced by obesity. Medications and diagnoses that used to be reserved for adults are now being used in children of younger and younger ages. The rampant rise in risk associated with high blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and "so-called" adult onset (type-2) diabetes are translating into more heart disease, at younger ages. What's more, the psychological and emotional problems associated with obesity compromise the "joy of life" of many kids and reduce their ability to learn and excel in school.

The statistics are frightening. Childhood obesity rates have more than quadrupled in the last 30 years going from four percent to nearly 20 percent in 2008. And obesity-related diseases cost nearly $168.4 billion a year or 16.5 percent of national spending on medical care —a growing price tag this country simply cannot afford. Fewer children are taking part in simple physical activities such as swimming, bike riding or even walking for short distances. Sedentary behavior coupled with access to high-calorie foods and beverages in school cafeterias and vending machines only exacerbate the problem.

A new study from researchers at the University of Illinois found that calorie-rich beverages, particularly high fat milk, are still widely available in schools. This is in contrast to the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine which urges elementary schools to offer only water, 100 percent juice in 4 ounce servings, and one percent skim milk products outside the school meal program. The bottom line is that students have easy access to high-calorie beverages in environments where they spend most of their day. More emphasis must be placed on initiatives to remove sugar-sweetened beverages from schools and teach youngsters how to eat sensibly and stay active.

Thanks to a landmark agreement between the beverage industry and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a non-profit organization founded by the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation, we're making progress. There has been an 88 percent decrease in total beverage calories shipped to schools between the first half of the 2004-05 and 2009-10 school years. This is a step in the right direction, but it's only one step. Now there's an opportunity for Congress to strengthen standards for most schools in the country.

Comprehensive nutrition education and increased opportunities for physical activity in schools have proven successful in preventing and reducing obesity. But in order to build a healthy and productive future for kids, our nation's leaders must step up to the plate and pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. This legislation, which has already been approved by the U.S. Senate, is currently awaiting a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. The measure would help strike out childhood obesity by improving the nutritional quality of school meals, removing junk food and calorie-rich drinks from vending machines and strengthening school wellness policies. Not only will these provisions help boost children's health, but research shows that kids who are introduced to healthy foods and physical activity early in life have a greater chance of adopting healthy behaviors into adulthood. Healthy, active kids also learn more effectively and achieve more academically.

The promise of today's youth is in our hands and we must band together to ensure swift passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. The U.S. Senate has already passed the measure, so the U.S. House of Representatives has the opportunity to send the bill to the President when Congress reconvenes this month. As children continue to weigh in at alarming levels, let's tip the scales in favor of initiatives that will get them back in shape and make the school environment a place that promotes healthy lifestyles with physical as well as academic rewards.

To learn more, visit follow us on Twitter @AmHeartAdvocacy.

About the Author

Robert DiBianco, MD

American Heart Association spokesperson and practicing cardiologist. Dr. DiBianco is in a cardiology group practice in suburban Washington DC.

Monday, November 1, 2010

AHA/ASA Voluntter Talks About Her Stroke on Channel 4

Pam Bedford, an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association volunteer and stroke survivor recently spoke with Linda Cavanaugh of Channel 4 in Oklahoma City about life after her stroke and the Stroke Peer Visitation Program that she participates in.

The American Stroke Association is dedicated to prevention, diagnosis and treatment to save lives from stroke — America’s No. 3 killer and a leading cause of serious disability. We fund scientific research, help people better understand and avoid stroke, encourage government support, guide healthcare professionals and provide information to enhance the quality of life for stroke survivors. We were created in 1997 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit

Here is the Link:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Help The AHA Win $200,000 By Clicking TODAY

Help us receive $200,000 in funding! If you haven’t already, all you have to do is join Members Project®, and cast a vote for us each week. After November 30th, Members Project will tally the votes and announce the winners for the voting round. We want to be a part of that list. Vote today and every week for the American Heart Association!

To join Members Project and/or cast your votes, go to:

Friday, October 22, 2010

NBA champion Lakers plant AHA teaching garden

Derek Fisher and several Los Angeles Lakers teammates showed that their talents go far beyond hoops when they helped the AHA plant a new teaching garden last week at Figueroa Street Elementary School in Los Angeles.

After demonstrating their horticultural skills, Fisher, Shannon Brown, Devin Ebanks, Trey Johnson, Drew Naymick and the Laker Girls spoke to students about the importance of eating healthy and staying active. Volleyball pro Gabrielle Reece led a physical activity session while chef Cat Cora and restaurateur/TV host Liza Utter-Pernice offered culinary tips.

See more photos at

AHA Releases New CPR Guidelines

A new order for CPR, spelled C-A-B

Please find an electronic press kit that includes a stats/fact sheet, chart of key changes, steps of CPR, CPR graphic and survivor stories at this link:

Statement Highlights:

When administering CPR, immediate chest compressions should be done first.

Untrained lay people are urged to administer Hands-Only CPR (chest compressions only).

DALLAS, Oct. 18, 2010 — The American Heart Association is re-arranging the ABCs of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in its 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Recommending that chest compressions be the first step for lay and professional rescuers to revive victims of sudden cardiac arrest, the association said the A-B-Cs (Airway-Breathing-Compressions) of CPR should now be changed to C-A-B (Compressions-Airway-Breathing).

“For more than 40 years, CPR training has emphasized the ABCs of CPR, which instructed people to open a victim’s airway by tilting their head back, pinching the nose and breathing into the victim’s mouth, and only then giving chest compressions,” said Michael Sayre, M.D., co-author of the guidelines and chairman of the American Heart Association’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) Committee. “This approach was causing significant delays in starting chest compressions, which are essential for keeping oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body. Changing the sequence from A-B-C to C-A-B for adults and children allows all rescuers to begin chest compressions right away.”

In previous guidelines, the association recommended looking, listening and feeling for normal breathing before starting CPR. Now, compressions should be started immediately on anyone who is unresponsive and not breathing normally.

All victims in cardiac arrest need chest compressions. In the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest, victims will have oxygen remaining in their lungs and bloodstream, so starting CPR with chest compressions can pump that blood to the victim’s brain and heart sooner. Research shows that rescuers who started CPR with opening the airway took 30 critical seconds longer to begin chest compressions than rescuers who began CPR with chest compressions.

The change in the CPR sequence applies to adults, children and infants, but excludes newborns.

Other recommendations, based mainly on research published since the last AHA resuscitation guidelines in 2005:

During CPR, rescuers should give chest compressions a little faster, at a rate of at least 100 times a minute.

Rescuers should push deeper on the chest, compressing at least two inches in adults and children and 1.5 inches in infants.

Between each compression, rescuers should avoid leaning on the chest to allow it to return to its starting position.

Rescuers should avoid stopping chest compressions and avoid excessive ventilation.

All 9-1-1 centers should assertively provide instructions over the telephone to get chest compressions started when cardiac arrest is suspected.

“Sudden cardiac arrest claims hundreds of thousands of lives every year in the United States, and the American Heart Association’s guidelines have been used to train millions of people in lifesaving techniques,” said Ralph Sacco, M.D., president of the American Heart Association. “Despite our success, the research behind the guidelines is telling us that more people need to do CPR to treat victims of sudden cardiac arrest, and that the quality of CPR matters, whether it’s given by a professional or non-professional rescuer.”

Since 2008, the American Heart Association has recommended that untrained bystanders use Hands-Only CPR — CPR without breaths — for an adult victim who suddenly collapses. The steps to Hands-Only CPR are simple: call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast on the center of the chest until professional help or an AED arrives.

Key guidelines recommendations for healthcare professionals:

Effective teamwork techniques should be learned and practiced regularly.

Professional rescuers should use quantitative waveform capnography — the monitoring and measuring of carbon dioxide output — to confirm intubation and monitor CPR quality.

Therapeutic hypothermia, or cooling, should be part of an overall interdisciplinary system of care after resuscitation from cardiac arrest.

Atropine is no longer recommended for routine use in managing and treating pulseless electrical activity (PEA) or asystole.

Pediatric advanced life support (PALS) guidelines provide new information about resuscitating infants and children with certain congenital heart diseases and pulmonary hypertension, and emphasize organizing care around two-minute periods of uninterrupted CPR.

The CPR and ECC guidelines are science-based recommendations for treating cardiovascular emergencies — particularly sudden cardiac arrest in adults, children, infants and newborns. The American Heart Association established the first resuscitation guidelines in 1966.

The year 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of Kouwenhoven, Jude, and Knickerbocker’s landmark study documenting cardiac arrest survival after chest compressions.

A complete list of authors is on the manuscript.

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy most manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Study: Obese Workers Cost Employers $73 Billion Per Year

By Meredith Melnick Monday, October 11, 2010

PrintObesity is expensive — for the person living with it, for the health-care system and now, according to a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, for employers. The U.S. economy suffers a $73.1 billion hit as a result of an obese work force.

Researchers from Duke University followed normal-weight, overweight and obese full-time workers, measuring the financial consequences of medical expenditures, lost productivity on the job because of health problems (referred to as presenteeism) and missed work due to health problems (absenteeism). Across the board, obese workers had the most expensive health care, the most interruption to their productivity when on the job and the most days absent.

Read more:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dr. Spradlin talks about life with a stroke on Channel 4

Dr. Janet Spradlin, immediate past president of the AHA SouthCentral Affiiliate Board, was recently interviewed on News Channel 4 in Oklahoma City about living life after a stroke. Dr. Spradlin did a great job so please take a few minutes to watch.

Link to story:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Oklahoma Heart Institute Recognized as a Top Get With The GuidelinesSM Participant

Oklahoma Heart Institute – Hospital, on the campus of Hillcrest Medical Center, has been recognized for its demonstrated commitment to using evidence-based guidelines to provide the best possible care to patients through the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With the GuidelinesSM (GWTG) program.
Introduced in 2000, GWTG helps hospitals close the gap between recommended treatment and actual treatment of heart patients. Hospitals implementing the quality improvement program generally see measurable results.
Each year, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize hospitals for their success in using GWTG to improve quality of care for heart disease and stroke patients.

Read MORE.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

If you’re like most Americans, you have questions about how the new health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, will affect you and your family. The American Heart Association has produced a series of brief videos with questions from real consumers and responses from experts about how the new law will impact patients with heart disease or stroke. Learn more by visiting:

Here are some videos that you may find helpful:

"Will health care reform make coverage more affordable for families like mine? How will it work?"

“How will healthcare reform address the needs of patients like me, who have lost their jobs and employer insurance?”

"Will the new health reform law make prevention and preventive coverage an integral part of health care and place more emphasis on preventing disease, rather than treating it?”

Tulsa County says "No Smoking" in county buildings and vehicles

Tulsa County followed Oklahoma County by making their buildings and vehicles smoke free yesterday. You can read more about the vote here

Oklahoma already has a statewide law that prohibits smoking in most workplaces. This policy would prohibit all tobacco not only inside buildings but outside and in the county owned vehicles opperated by their employees.

San Antonio vote puts Oklahoma further behind

0 comments posted an editorial today from a Smoke-Free Oklahoma supporter regarding the vote by San Antonio to become the final large city in Texas to be smoke-free. Read more below.

Move by San Antonio places Oklahoma further behind competition

Read more:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lee Corso makes first public speaking appearence since stroke

ESPN Analyst, Lee Corso, visited Oklahoma yesterday to speak to a group about life after his stroke. Corso suffered a stroke in May 2009 and this was his first public speaking event since that day.

Consider these statistics from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association:
  • Each year about 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. About 600,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks.
  • On average, every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke.
  • When considered separately from other cardiovascular diseases, stroke ranks No. 3 among all causes of death, behind diseases of the heart and cancer.
  • On average, every three to four minutes someone dies of a stroke.
You can see an interview with Corso on the website here.

White Paper Lays Out the Benefit of Registries

Patient registries—databases of clinical information critical to evaluating care processes and outcomes—can play a critical role in measuring quality and cost of health care, yet they are often limited by shortcomings in design and function. Using registries to advance performance measurement and ultimately improve care will involve finding solutions to what are currently common registry limitations.

The Robert Wood Johnson recently released a white paper that describes solutions for leveraging both administrative and registry data to make additional performance results available, as well as further increase registry use for performance measurement and other purposes.

Read the full report here.

At the beginning of this year a new rule took effect from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS Final FY 2010 Rule) which focuses on improving stroke patient care in hospitals. It requires hospitals submitting Medicare claims for stroke to let CMS know if they participate in a database registry for stroke care, such as that maintained by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke (GWTG-Stroke) quality improvement initiative.  
Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke puts the expertise of the American Stroke Association to work for hospital teams, helping to ensure that the care they provide to stroke patients is aligned with the latest scientific guidelines.
Most hospitals that implement the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke quality improvement program realize measurable results. It’s a difference that shows in the lives of patients and their families, in the satisfaction felt by caregivers empowered to do their best and in the financial health of participating hospitals.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Good News for Child Nutrition Both at Home and in D.C.

Last week the Edmond Sun and Oklahoman published a story about Edmond Public Schools taking a significant step towards improving the health of their school children by providing healthier lunch options. This comes on the heels of the U.S. Senate passing the $4.5 billion "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act" this past Thursday, which expands children's access to federal nutrition programs and will improve the nutritional quality of school lunches. The legislation marks the largest investment in child nutrition programs since their inception.

Oklahoma is facing a serious health crisis affecting our most important assets – our children. Every year the children in our state are becoming increasingly overweight because of decreased physical activity and poor nutrition. And, sadly, as troubling as this is for our children’s current health, this is just the beginning of a possible lifetime of poor health and complications from being overweight and obese.

Overweight and Obesity are leading risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, and every year more children are diagnosed with Type II or “adult onset” diabetes, something relatively unheard of just a few years ago. Cardiovascular diseases will cost Americans nearly $352 billion this year, and almost $100 billion of that is the result of obesity.

We must make the choice to invest in the future of our children and their health, rather than let them slip into a life of lethargy and poor health. My hope is that all schools follow the example of Edmond and takes steps to provide healthier food for their children.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Research + Prevention = Lives Saved. Tell Congress Today!

Senator Bob Casey (PA) is circulating a letter that asks for $35 billion for the National Institutes of Health. This is the same amount requested by the American Heart Association to ensure continued progress in medical research, and Senator Casey’s office has requested our help in getting his fellow Senators to sign onto the letter. You can help by visiting Research Saves Lives to send a quick email to yourSenators.

Ask Senator Coburn and Senator Inhofe to support $35 billion for the National Institutes for Health. These funds could support medical research leading to new treatments and even cures for heart disease and stroke. Act Today. Link: =

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WISEWOMAN program screens low-income women for heart disease and stroke risk and provides follow up for those who need it. Right now, WISEWOMAN only has enough funding to operate in 20 states while millions of women across the country are forced to wait. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for women, and we know that this program has been effective in giving at-risk women the tools they need to prevent heart disease and stroke. The program, sadly, remains woefully underfunded.

More than 432,000 women die each year from CVD, but so many of those deaths could be prevented. Ask Members of Congress to fund WISEWOMAN, a program that helps women prevent heart disease and stroke. Take Action Today. Link=

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May is American Stroke Month

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has name May as American Stroke Month. Here in Oklahoma we brought two survivors of stroke to visited with lawmakers about the need for quality stroke care in Oklahoma.
Pam, stroke survivor and AHA/ASA volunteer, visited with
Rep. Thompson about stroke care in Oklahoma

Cassandra Rigsby, AHA Intern, Gary and Pam visiting
with Senator Crain about their experiences with stroke.

Pam and Gary speaking with Rep. Coody

Gary shares his experience with having a stroke at
the age of 20 with Senator Todd Lamb.

Consider some facts about stroke from the CDC:

• Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Around 137,000 Americans die of stroke every year.

• Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every three to four minutes, someone dies of stroke.

• Stroke is a leading cause of death for both men and women. In 2006, 6 out of every 10 deaths due to stroke were in women.

• Every year, about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes. About 185,000 people who survive a stroke eventually have another.

• In 2010, stroke will cost the United States $73.7 billion. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Poll shows support for smoke-free law in Oklahoma

Yesterday the American Heart Association joined the Smoke Free Oklahoma coalition in annoucing the results of a promising new poll that shows that voters want Oklahoma to go 100% smoke free.

Read the story in today's Oklahoman by clicking on the link below.

Poll shows support for smoke-free law in Oklahoma

The Oklahoman
March 24, 2010

Oklahoma You're the Cure Advocate Travels to DC to visit with Congressman Cole

Above is American Heart Association volunteer Shelley Overholt visiting with Congressman Tom Cole in Washington D.C. about why increasing the National Institute of Health (NIH) Research funding is so important. (Included with Shelley in the picture are; incoming AHA National President Ralph Sacco, AHA Volunteer Management Director Brian Bowser, and Congressman Cole's Legislative Assistant Joshua Grogis.)

Menu Labeling is Included in the Federal Health Care Bill

The number of meals eaten outside the home has reached an all-time high, making it all the more important for consumers to have the information they need to make healthy food choices.

Provisions in the Federal Health Care bill mandates that chain restaurants with 20 or more locations will have to display nutritional and calorie information.

Read about it in the Wall Street Journal article below.
Menu Labeling to Go National, Thanks to Health Bill’s Passage

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oklahomans want major changes to smoking laws

Oklahoma City, OK (March 23, 2010)-Oklahomans say they want tougher smoke free laws that protect them from the dangers of secondhand smoke, says a new poll that was released today. The poll was commissioned by a coalition of Oklahoma’s leading health advocates and conducted by Bill Shapard of

The poll was completed in late February and surveyed 1,000 likely voters registered in Oklahoma. It found that an overwhelming majority, 94% of Oklahoma voters believe secondhand smoke is a health hazard, with 62.4% believing it is a serious health hazard.

71% of Oklahomans favor eliminating all indoor smoking in public places, with 56% of respondents saying that they strongly favor a statewide smoke free law.

When it comes to the business aspect of eliminating secondhand smoke hazards, 70.1 % of Oklahoma voters strongly believe the rights of customers and employees to breathe clean air in restaurants and bars is more important than the rights of smokers to smoke inside and owners to allow smoking inside restaurants and bars.

73.6% of Oklahomans will still go out as often if smoke free legislation is passed, and even 71.6% of smokers will still go out to bars and restaurants as often, if Oklahoma goes smoke free.

Nearly 20% of respondents said they would go out more often if a smoke free law were passed.

“We’re here today to tell lawmakers that voters are sending them a clear message, we want a Smoke Free Oklahoma,” said Marilyn Davidson, Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association, at a press conference held at the State Capitol.

Secondhand smoke has proven to increase risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, and many respiratory illnesses. 29 other states have adopted comprehensive smoking laws and taken steps to protect their workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Smoke Free Oklahoma is working with lawmakers to make Oklahoma the 30th state to adopt a similar law.

“As you can see from the polling, Oklahomans know the dangers of second hand smoke and are ready to make Oklahoma a healthier state by making it the 30th state to go smoke free,” said Davidson.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tobacco-free bill lights up Senate debate

The plan would allow fines on college campuses.

By BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Published: 3/5/2010

OKLAHOMA CITY — Consideration of a bill to enforce tobacco-free polices on college campuses led to a debate Thursday on the Senate floor about personal freedoms, health care and abortion.

Sen. Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater, urged the Senate to pass Senate Bill 1674, which would allow colleges and universities to levy fines of up to $100 for those found in violation of tobacco-free policies.

The measure ultimately was approved by a 29-11 vote and sent on to the House after discussions turned to curtailing personal liberties and casting consistent votes when it came to issues such as abortion regulations.

Sen. Steven Russell, R-Oklahoma City, said SB 1674 curtailed what is currently a legal activity, noting that government continues to nibble away at personal freedoms.

Halligan called tobacco a "scourge on society."

Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, said the bill represented the hypocrisy brought to the Senate floor on a regular basis. "This is a bad bill," said Brogdon, who is running for governor. "Let's quit picking around the edges. If you want to ban tobacco, let's get rid of it."

Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, D-Ardmore, said each generation will have fewer and fewer rights than their elders.

Sen. Andrew Rice, D-Oklahoma City, pointed out that a number of measures regulating abortion, a legal activity, will be heard. Those measures would require women seeking abortions to have ultrasounds and require information about a woman's abortion to be put on a public Web site, Rice said. The measure would not identify the woman.

"Let's be consistent about the invasion of privacy into the lives of Oklahomans," Rice said.

Sen. Tom Adelson, D-Tulsa, said although alcohol is legal, it is illegal to drink and drive. Innocent bystanders have no choice but to breathe secondhand smoke, he said.

"Smoke them if you've got them, but I don't want to breathe it," Adelson said.

Secondhand smoke is dangerous, said Sen. David Myers, R-Ponca City.

"We need to do something about the health of Oklahomans," Myers said, referring to low marks the state gets in several areas regarding health.

Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, said her husband died of lung cancer, but never smoked. Former Sen. Keith Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, died in 2003. His wife was elected to his seat.

"I am for getting rid of smoking anywhere and everywhere," she said.

Halligan said no one should have the right to say "I want to smoke and you have to inhale it."

"When your rights impact my rights, when your rights impact my life," he said. "That is what secondhand smoke does.

Meanwhile, the House passed legislation that would allow educational institutions to designate their buildings and campuses tobacco-free. House Bill 2748 by Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, also would allow institutions to enforce penalties for violations. It passed 81-11 and now heads to the Senate.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Support is growing for smoke free restaurants in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Alliance on Health or Tobacco held a press conference Monday, February 22nd along with a volunteer from the OU Cancer Research Center and Ken Selby, owner of Mazzio's Pizza to speak about the importance of Oklahoma restaurants going smoke free.

You can read the news covereage below:
Mazzio’s owner brings support for smoke-free restaurants bill in Oklahoma

Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Research on Secondhand Smoke Finds Significant Hazards

Media Contact: Diane Clay For Immediate Release
Email: Feb. 12, 2010
Phone: (405) 271-2323

New Research on Secondhand Smoke Finds Significant Hazards
Report focuses on Oklahomans in the workplace

OKLAHOMA CITY – New research by the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center (OTRC) shows that concentrations of secondhand tobacco smoke inhaled in smoking rooms of restaurants and bars are exceptionally high and hazardous to health.

According to the study, which appears in the center’s new report “Tobacco Smoke Pollution in Oklahoma Workplaces,” the average particulate level measured in restaurant smoking rooms was beyond the hazardous extreme based on levels established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The level found in bars was even worse.

“These levels are exceptionally high and not healthy for the employees and patrons exposed to particles found in secondhand smoke,” said Heather Basara, M.D., an industrial hygienist and lead investigator on the research.

Tobacco smoke levels were evaluated based on measurements of very fine suspended particulates in the air, particles smaller than 2.5 microns, which come primarily from tobacco smoke.

Levels averaged 380 µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter of air) in the restaurant smoking rooms tested, and 655 µg/m3 in the bars. Restaurants with no smoking averaged just 26 µg/m3.

The EPA scale ranks outdoor levels of particulate pollution as “unhealthy” at 66-150, “very unhealthy”’ at 151-250, and “hazardous” at higher concentrations such as the levels found in the Oklahoma restaurant smoking rooms and bars tested for this report.

Robert McCaffree, M.D., Co-Director of OTRC, said, “Secondhand smoke exposure is a serious health hazard, accounting for approximately 700 deaths a year in Oklahoma, mostly from heart disease – including heart attacks – and lung cancer. Even brief exposure is harmful. Because this exposure is readily preventable, business owners and public policy makers would be well-advised to act as soon as possible to assure smokefree environments for all public places and all indoor workplaces.”

Particulates were monitored using a TSI Sidepak AM510 Personal Aerosol Monitor. Sixty-second average readings for at least 30 minutes were recorded in 67 indoor locations in central Oklahoma; following nationally recognized protocols established by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. Time weighted averages were calculated for each of the locations. The full report is accessible at the OTRC Web site at
The Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center is part of the OU Cancer Institute at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. The mission of the OTRC is to reduce the burden of tobacco related health problems in Oklahoma by stimulating the generation and dissemination of knowledge and the implementation and diffusion of effective practices.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Could obesity be a threat to our national security?

 Obesity threatens national security

By Johnnie E. Wilson

6:29 p.m. Monday, February 8, 2010

When first lady Michelle Obama launches her campaign to reduce child obesity today, many Americans will be cheering her on — including parents, teachers, doctors, business leaders ... and retired generals and admirals such as me. Generals and admirals?

Yes, child obesity has become so serious in this country that military leaders are viewing the epidemic as a potential threat to our national security.

Obesity, it turns out, is the No. 1 reason why applicants fail to qualify for military service, and it is posing serious health problems within the services. The issue is causing heartbreak among some military families that have always had a son or daughter in the service. Today, otherwise excellent recruit prospects, with generations of military service in their family history, are being turned away because they are just too heavy.

A recent report by Mission: Readiness, an organization made up of retired admirals and generals, found that an alarming 75 percent of all young people aged 17 to 24 are unable to join the military. Many young adults do not qualify because they failed to finish high school or have criminal records, but the No. 1 reason, our report found, is obesity.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Human Health Issue

Yesterday, the Oklahoman published an op-ed written by Dr. Janet Spradlin on why Oklahoma needs to go smoke free.

Read it here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Parents Cut Kids' Calories When Menus are Labeled

0 comments,2933,583808,00.html

Michelle Obama asks mayors to help reduce obesity


First Lady Michelle Obama is tackling the issue of childhood obesity. The American Heart Association is working on a bill this year in Oklahoma that would create a definition of physical education in schools. Log on to to sign up for alerts and voice your opinion.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Restaurant Owners are Starting to Support Smoke Free Oklahoma


Last night Fox 25 in Oklahoma City ran a story about the effort in Oklahoma to make our state 100% smoke free. The American Heart Association has been working with other health organizations across the state to push HB 2343 which would protect all Oklahoma workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Federal judge upholds key provisions of FDA tobacco law

A federal judge in Kentucky this week upheld several provisions of a new law giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to regulate tobacco products. The court also upheld the authority of federal, state and local governments to impose additional regulations on tobacco products and marketing beyond those specified in the law. Find out more.



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