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FOR RELEASE: April 18, 2003
CONTACT: Leslea Bennet-Webb
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Media Advisory

News Conference Slated for Monday - Cigarette Tax Catches Fire, But Time is Running Out

What: Time is Running Out - News Conference
When: Monday, April 21, 2 p.m.
Where: Blue Room, State Capitol
Featuring:

Patti Davis, Executive Vice President
Oklahoma Hospital Association, and Co-Chair, Partners for Health Investment

Richard Barnes, Chair
Oklahoma Alliance on Health or Tobacco

Julie Knutson, President and CEO
Oklahoma Academy for State Goals

Background: The clock is ticking and the proposed $1 tobacco tax increase has yet to be seriously addressed. Agreements between the state of Oklahoma and tribal nations are clearly the first step before increasing the tax. A $1 increase would reduce cigarette use, especially among Oklahoma’s youth, and serve as a source to help fund the Medicaid budget shortfall during the state’s current budget crisis.

New polling data will be released during the news conference on Monday that describes how Oklahomans feel about a tax increase on tobacco being used to help pay health care costs.

Numerous health, business and consumer advocates will be at the news conference to encourage tribal and state leaders to reach a mutually beneficial agreement before the end of the legislative session so that legislators can take action on the $1 tobacco tax increase this year. Thousands of lives are in the balance. The future of Oklahoma’s health depends on action now.

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