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

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    After adjusting for inflation, federal and state welfare spending today is 16 times greater than it was when President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty. If converted into cash, current means-tested spending is five times the amount needed to eliminate all official poverty in the U.S.
    How can the government spend so much while poverty remains unchanged? The answer is simple: The Census Bureau’s “poverty” figures are woefully incomplete.

    August 1, 2014

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    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

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    July 28, 2014

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    July 28, 2014

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    July 28, 2014

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    July 26, 2014

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    July 25, 2014


The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
     View Results