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FOR RELEASE: February 6, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Oklahoma to Participate in National Interactive Broadcast on Status of Tobacco Control

Oklahomans will have an opportunity to join the rest of the country in an interactive satellite broadcast on the current strategies recommended for state tobacco use prevention and cessation programs.

The interactive broadcast, Investing in Tobacco Control: A Guide for State Decisionmakers, will air on Thursday, Feb. 15, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at several locations around the state. The broadcast will highlight a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that reviews funding for state tobacco use prevention and cessation programs and compares that funding with the actual medical costs of tobacco use in each state. Legislators and staff, as well as state health officials, community leaders, advocates, public health experts, and concerned community members will be connected via satellite to the CDC broadcast.

“This report will provide clear and compelling reasons on why a long-term commitment to tobacco use prevention and cessation programs is necessary and beneficial,” said State Health Department Deputy Commissioner Robert Vincent, Ph.D. “It will also illustrate what states can expect to achieve by following CDC's Best Practices guidelines for tobacco use prevention and cessation.”

Broadcast locations in Oklahoma City include the State Capitol, Room 104, and the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 1000 NE 10th Street, Room 806. Other broadcast locations around the state include the Garfield County Health Department, Enid; Comanche County Health Department, Lawton; Tulsa City-County Health Department; and the Woodward Public Library. Registration is free.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in Oklahoma. Last year, 6,000 premature deaths in Oklahoma were caused by tobacco use. Direct health care costs related to the use of tobacco total more than $690 million each year. When other costs, like missed workdays and lost productivity are included, tobacco's toll in Oklahoma exceeds $1 billion each year, or an average of more than $300 for every Oklahoman.

To learn more about the broadcast, contact Dr. Tyna Fields, Community Outreach Coordinator, Office of Tobacco Use Prevention, 405/271-3619.

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