Oklahoma became the fourteenth state to file suit against the tobacco industry to recover tax dollars lost treating smoking-caused illnesses. Within two years 46 state attorneys general had joined together to negotiate a settlement with the four largest tobacco companies in the United States. Oklahoma's Attorney General, Drew Edmondson, was one of eight attorneys general to serve on the negotiating team.
The 46 states negotiated a Master Settlement Agreement ("MSA") with the tobacco industry. Four states - Florida, Minnesota, Texas, and Mississippi had previously settled their tobacco cases separately. As a result of the MSA, the tobacco industry is projected to pay Oklahoma approximately $2 billion over the first 25 years of the settlement.
Oklahoma's Constitution was amended by a vote of the people, to place a portion of each year's tobacco settlement payments into an endowment trust fund, to create a five-member Board of Investors to oversee the investment of the trust funds, and to create a seven-member Board of Directors to direct the earnings from the trust to fund programs in the following five areas:
1. Clinical and basic research and treatment efforts in Oklahoma for the purpose of enhancing efforts to prevent and combat cancer and other tobacco-related diseases,
2. Cost-effective tobacco prevention and cessation programs,
3. Programs designed to maintain or improve the health of Oklahomans or to enhance the provision of health care services to Oklahomans, with particular emphasis on such programs for children,
4. Programs and services for the benefit of the children of Oklahoma, with particular emphasis on common and higher education, before- and after-school programs, substance abuse prevention and treatment programs and services designed to improve the health and quality of life of children,
5. Programs designed to enhance the health and well-being of senior adults.
The first meeting of the Board of Directors was held, and a contract was established with the Oklahoma City Community Foundation for planning assistance. During the fall of 2001, the Board of Directors studied the activities of other states, heard program funding suggestions from a large number of public and private organizations in Oklahoma, and created a strategic plan that prioritized tobacco use prevention and cessation programs as the initial target for funding.
An Executive Director was hired and a state office was established.
The Board of Directors approved funding to initiate a statewide tobacco use "quitline" to provide information, self-help materials, and behavioral counseling over the telephone for all Oklahomans with a desire to stop smoking or using other tobacco products.
The Board of Directors and Board of Investors held their first annual joint meeting to exchange information to aid in both program and investment planning. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline was launched, and the Board of Directors engaged in an operational planning process to develop a five-year plan. As a result, the board voted to dedicate all of the available earnings in the early years of the endowment to effective tobacco control programs.
The Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control program was launched.
The Addressing Tobacco in Specific Populations program was launched.
Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board (OSEEGIB) began offering insurance coverage for smoking cessation prescription products for all HealthChoice members.
Board of Investors certified $6,843,383 in earnings from FY 2006.
Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control 5-year grant program expanded with awards to seven new grantees.
Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center (OTRC) with the OU Cancer Institute received $5 million in grant funding over a 5-year period.
First public education campaign developed by and for Oklahomans- Tobacco Stops With Me- was launched.
TSET joined the National Alliance for Tobacco Cessation, a multi-state public-private initiative to fund Become An EX campaign an online smoking cessation program.
Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline services were expanded to meet increasing demand. More than 24,000 Oklahomans registered with the Helpline.
Tobacco Cessations Systems grants awarded to work with insurance, hospitals, and mental health and substance abuse services.
Satisfaction rate with Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline services was at 92% with more than 37,000 tobacco users calling.
The Clean Air in Restaurants Act established a rebate program to incentivize restaurants to close smoking rooms and become smokefree. The bill also created Oklahoma Certified Healthy Communities Act and Oklahoma Certified Healthy Schools Act.
Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center with the OU Cancer Institute funded first three research projects.
A plan to expand program funding to improve nutrition and fitness development.Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research (OCASCR) created and funded at $5.5 million over five and one-half years.
The last decade, smoking prevalence in Oklahoma decreased from 28.7% in 2001 to 25.5% in 2009.
Grant to Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services funded to assist ABLE Commission in enforcement of Youth Access to Tobacco laws.
Governor Mary Fallin helped to launch the Shape Your Future media campaign encouraging Oklahomans to eat better, move more and be tobacco free.
Oklahoma public health officials announce that for the first time, Oklahoma has more former smokers than current smokers.
A ruling from the Attorney General’s office allowed the trust to increase the amount of earnings that could be certified for TSET use. In FY11, $36,023,061 were certified for TSET use.
Board of Directors awards a 5-year, $30 million grant to the Stephenson Cancer Center, launching the TSET Phase I Clinical Trials research program.
14 cities are awarded Healthy Community Incentive Grants as part of the new incentive grant program.
More than 200,000 Oklahoma tobacco users across the state have been served by the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline since it began in FY04.
More than 39,557 tobacco users called the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline in FY12.
Governor Mary Fallin signs executive order to prohibit tobacco use on all state property effective August 2012.
Smoking in Oklahoma reaches an historic low. Oklahoma's adult smoking rate drops from 26.1 percent to 23.3 percent, according to data collected in 2012 and released in 2013.
Oklahoma improves its rank from 47th to 39th among states for the percent of adults who smoke, according to BRFSS.
The percent of "never smokers" increased from 49.2 percent in 2011 to 52.4 percent in 2012. There were 75,000 fewer adult smokers in 2012 than in 2011.