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Smoking Rate at Historic Low

Filed by KOSU News in Feature, Health, Local News.
October 11, 2011

Smoking rates in Oklahoma have hit an all time low. State Health Commissioner Terry Cline says about 24 percent of adults light up, down from 29 percent in 2000.

“That is still above the national average, but it is the lowest rate we have ever seen. The lowest prevalence rate we have ever seen in this state. So a great cause for celebration,  but also a reminder of the great distance we still have to travel.”

Cline praises both state and local governments for taking steps to curb smoking. He says since a 2003 law restricting smoking at work went into effect, there’s been a steady decline. Tracey Strader, Executive Director of Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, says it’s about making the future, too.

“Our kids do what we do, not what we say. And so we have to create that kind of world for them, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Commissioner Cline says one of the next steps is passing a bill allowing communities to craft stricter regulations. The legislation got the closest ever to becoming law last session, but still never even got a vote on the House floor.

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