Lawyers insist on Tobacco Control

Is there a better time than the weekend after Thanksgiving to start making that list to get healthier? Obviously, counting calories and portion control should go to the list. And more exercise.

Thanksgiving starts making

Here are a few ideas. And giving cities in Oklahoma to develop their own version of the tobacco control measures?

Tobacco use is probably the biggest health problems, Oklahoma, and the main reason the state regularly takes a little of the measures of health and well-being. It is the number one state cause of preventable death, responsible for about 6,000 deaths a year. At the current rate of use, it is estimated that 87,000 young people will eventually die prematurely from tobacco use.

The government has taken a step in recent years in favor of non-users from the dangers of passive smoking. But while the stranglehold that the tobacco industry for our legislature is broken; do not look for more progress.

Try, try again: Despite the repeated failures in the past, lawyers are preparing to push the passage of the measure gives the city the right to take strict measures of tobacco control than is allowed by state law. Last year, House Bill 2267, which would give the city the right, made it through the state House, but did not advance out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Last month, members of the State Board of Health has promised to re-do the local control legislation their top priority. In addition, a new website was launched in detail tobacco industry lobbying in Oklahoma.

Proponents have some new ammunition from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help their cause. Two cities in Oklahoma - Oklahoma City and Tulsa - were highlighted in a new report by CDC for their weak laws protecting people from tobacco smoke.

November CDC, 16 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that Oklahoma’s two largest cities of the six out of 50 of the country’s most populous cities, which do not provide a non-smoking environment in all workplaces, restaurants and bars. Nearly all states allow cities to issue their own local laws regarding tobacco use.

It was proposed State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline, to urge lawmakers to restore “local law for the City of Oklahoma City and cities to adopt stronger smoking ordinances … Until then, Oklahoma will continue to fight to improve the health of our citizens and the economic health of our state.”

That much of the local control is that, according to the CDC, “strong smoking restrictions traditionally occur at the local level.” This, obviously, is one of the reasons why the tobacco industry is opposed to such measures.

Interestingly, the first comprehensive control laws are often made smaller communities whose success “sets the stage for a similar act of large cities and, ultimately, at the state level,” the report said.

If they occur at the local or state level, smoking laws tend to generate a “high level of public support and compliance to reduce (ETS) exposure and improve public health.”

That money can buy: While local control is the trend elsewhere, our legislators have not jumped on that bandwagon. Some longtime supporters believe that this is because the industry’s generosity toward politicians.

Doug Matheny, a former director of the tobacco prevention State Department of Health, retired last year and created a website,, in order to focus on the lobbying industry in Oklahoma.

Matheny encourages legislators to sign a commitment not to accept campaign contributions, meals or other gifts from tobacco PACs or tobacco lobbyists.

“For decades, we have seen tobacco lobbyists manage to kill bills they oppose and pass bills that they support,” said Matheny in the ad creation of a website. “Even if he never influenced legislation, the money distributed tobacco lobbyists should be denied in principle. Taking money or gifts from industry representatives that addicts young people for deadly products do not correspond to Oklahoma.”

“The tobacco industry sees major return on their investment in the political system of Oklahoma”, said Dr. Robert McCaffree, co-director of the Research Center for Tobacco Oklahoma. “There’s a clear correlation between the tobacco industry contributions and the suppression of opposition or legislation aimed at reducing tobacco consumption in our state … “

According to the site, 84 of the 97 representatives of the office from October 1, took a total of $ 80,550 in campaign contributions from tobacco lobbyists since 2006. In addition, since 2006, 45 of them took a total of $ 29,750 from tobacco PACs. And 86 took a total of $ 25,304 in food and other gifts from tobacco lobbyists. Nine representatives have accepted more than $ 3,000, and only one of them voted for tobacco control legislation in the past year.

Over in the Senate, 41 of the 48 senators took a total of $ 74,750 in campaign funds from tobacco lobbyists since 2006. Twenty-two received a total of $ 19,750 from PACs, and 42 took a total of $ 12,615 in food and other gifts.

Eleven senators took a total of $ 3,000 or more.

Local control measures could not be heard in the Senate last year.

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