The Edmond Sun

Opinion

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, www.DontSmokeOnMe.com, 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 http://www.ok.gov/governor/.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Free trade on steroids: The threat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Many supporters of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade agreement are arguing that its fate rests on President Obama’s bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan this week. If Japan and the United States can sort out market access issues for agriculture and automobiles, the wisdom goes, this huge deal — in effect, a North American Free Trade Agreement on steroids — can at last be concluded.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Chicago Tribune: If Walgreen Co. moves its HQ to Europe, blame Washington’s tax failure

    The Walgreen Co. drugstore chain got its start nearly a century ago in downstate Dixon, Ill., before moving its corporate headquarters to Chicago and eventually to north suburban Deerfield, Ill.
    Next stop? Could be Bern, Switzerland.
    A group of shareholders reportedly is pressuring the giant retail chain for a move to the land of cuckoo clocks. The reason: lower taxes. Much lower taxes.
    If Walgreen changes its legal domicile to Switzerland, where it recently acquired a stake in European drugstore chain Alliance Boots, the company could save big bucks on its corporate income-tax bill. The effective U.S. income-tax rate for Walgreen, according to analysts at Swiss Bank UBS: 37 percent. For Alliance Boots: about 20 percent.

    April 21, 2014

  • Sulphur a future major tourist destination?

    Greta Garbo says, “I want to be alone,” in the 1932 film “Grand Hotel.” That MGM film starred Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery and a young actress from Lawton named Joan Crawford. It told the stories of several different people who were staying at an exclusive hotel of that name in Berlin Germany.
    It was critically well received and it inspired more recent films such as “Gosford Park” and television shows such as “Downton Abbey” in that it detailed the relationship between powerful and wealthy people and those who served them. The film opened amidst much fanfare and it received the Oscar for best picture in the year of its release.

    April 21, 2014

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014

  • The pessimist’s guide to grizzly bears and Earth Day

    This coming Friday, to “celebrate Earth Day,” the Walt Disney Co. will release one of those cutesy, fun-for-all-ages, nature documentaries. “Bears” is about grizzly bears.
    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
    The dispute presents two very serious questions. Was the program consistent with American values and did it produce valuable intelligence? And is effective congressional oversight of secret activities possible in our democracy?

    April 15, 2014

Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

Agree
Disagree
Undecided
     View Results