For Release: November 15, 2010
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
EVENT: Presentation on Tobacco Industry Influence over Policymaking in Oklahoma
SPEAKER: Doug Matheny, MPH, CHES
Chief, Tobacco Use Prevention Service
Oklahoma State Department of Health
WHEN: Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Meeting of the Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Advisory Committee Oklahoma State Capitol, Governor’s Large Conference Room (2ndFloor)
BACKGROUND: Restoring local rights on tobacco prevention policy is expected to be a major issue during the 2011 session of the Oklahoma State Legislature.
Mr. Matheny will summarize internal tobacco industry documents and a report by the OU Department of Political Science outlining tobacco industry strategies to influence policymaking in Oklahoma. The presentation will focus on efforts by tobacco lobbyists to place and retain “preemptive” clauses in Oklahoma tobacco laws. Internal documents show that a top priority of the tobacco industry is to control all tobacco policy issues at the state level.
Oklahoma is one of only two states in the nation with comprehensive prohibitions on what cities and towns can do to reduce the toll of tobacco in their communities. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.
Restoring local rights for tobacco prevention is a priority of the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan, the State Turning Point Council, the Oklahoma Municipal League and dozens of other organizations including the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Oklahoma State Medical Association, Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Oklahoma. The measure has been formally endorsed by the State Board of Health and the City-County Boards of Health for Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The only organizations in opposition are tobacco companies or those closely affiliated with the tobacco industry.
The Oklahoma Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Advisory Committee was created in 2001 by the Oklahoma State Legislature.