The Edmond Sun


March 9, 2013

Snuffing out second-hand smoke

OKLA. CITY — In the past two years, Oklahoma has made great strides in improving our overall health. Programs like the Certified Healthy initiatives are promoting healthier workplaces, schools and communities and helping us tackle health problems like obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.

This year, my budget also includes more money to support prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment initiatives to help citizens overcome the challenges of substance abuse and addiction.

While these programs are working — we’ve moved from 49th in the country to 43rd in terms of health outcomes — there still is much work to be done to improve the health of Oklahoma.

Seventy percent of illnesses in this state are preventable. If we are going to make significant progress in improving health outcomes we have to address the state’s No. 1 cause of preventable illness and death: tobacco.

Oklahoma has the fourth highest smoking rate in the country, as we pay a very high price for that dubious ranking. More than 6,000 Oklahomans die each year from smoking-related illnesses. Many of these men and women do not even smoke; 700 Oklahomans die each year from second-hand smoke, which contains more than 7,000 chemicals, dozens of which can lead to cancer.

Those deaths are not only tragic, but they place an unnecessary strain on our family budgets, state budget and our economy. Each year, the use of tobacco products costs Oklahomans more than $2 billion in health-care costs and lost workforce productivity. Smoking costs the average Oklahoma household $550 a year in federal and state tax dollars. And health care and health insurance costs continue to be pushed upward for smokers and non-smokers alike because of smoking-related illnesses.

By addressing smoking and second-hand smoke, we can improve our health, improve our standard of living and improve our economy. That’s why I am working with community leaders, health care professionals and other concerned stakeholders to launch an initiative petition aimed at reducing second-hand smoke.

This initiative petition will give Oklahomans the chance to vote on whether or not they want to breathe smoke-free air when they are in public. We’ve established a Web site,, where Oklahomans can learn more about this plan. To get involved or to learn more about the effort to address second-hand smoke, I urge you to sign up.

The people of Oklahoma know smoking is doing enormous damage to our state, our health and our economy. Most Oklahomans know someone who has died of a smoking-related illness. Both of my parents died too early because of smoking.

It’s my hope this initiative petition can help save someone else’s parents, or someone else’s children, from falling sick to illnesses related to smoking and second-hand smoke.

About 75 percent of Oklahomans do not smoke. They deserve the chance to vote on whether or not they want clean air in public places. If given the chance, I believe the answer will be a resounding “yes.”

GOV. MARY FALLIN, R-Edmond, may be reached via her website at

Text Only
  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • RedBlueAmerica: What should the U.S. do about illegal immigrant children?

    The crisis along the southern U.S. border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all.
    President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in borrowed money from taxpayers to cover the growing “care, feeding and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups” when our own veterans are not taken care of. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized the president’s plan, saying more money should go toward securing the border.

    July 17, 2014

  • VA scandal highlights the need to change Pentagon spending priorities

    The ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal raises an important question: When our veterans are being denied access to basic health care, why is the Pentagon squandering billions of dollars on programs that do not benefit our military forces? Is there a link in organization attitudes?

    July 16, 2014

  • For better politics, it’s time for some raging moderates

    Like more than 20 percent of my fellow Californians, I am now classified as a no-party-preference voter, registered to vote but with no affiliation to any of the state’s political parties.
    I am for lower taxes and for marriage equality. I am tough on crime and I am anti-abortion. I believe that a pathway to citizenship is a necessary part of immigration reform and that student test scores should be a critical component of teacher evaluations.

    July 15, 2014

  • Father on mission to stop gun violence

    Since his son died six weeks ago as collateral damage to a troubled young man’s wish for vengeance, Richard Martinez has been asked whom he holds responsible.
    “I’m responsible,” the California lawyer answers, referring to most Americans’ failure to push harder to change gun laws after earlier mass shootings. “All those kids died and none of us did anything.”

    July 14, 2014


If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
     View Results