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.

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