November Newsletter

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TSET November Newsletter

November 12, 2015

Celebrate 15 Year Anniversary of the Creation of TSET

Save It Grow It

In 2000, voters approved a constitutional amendment to set aside a portion of Oklahoma’s payments from the Master Settlement Agreement with major tobacco companies to combat the state’s poor health outcomes. Oklahoma’s health problems are complex and it takes a comprehensive approach to make progress in reducing and preventing tobacco use and obesity.

Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) funding leverages the state’s efforts to reduce these deaths that impact Oklahomans at higher rates than residents in other states.

November marks the 15th anniversary of the voter creation of TSET, a grant-making state agency dedicated to improving Oklahoma’s health status. 


Celebrate the wise choice of voters by watching Oklahoma TSET: Keeping the Promise for Health on local channels or find the video and more information on TSET’s history here

Smoking Rates in Oklahoma Decline to an All-Time Low

Adult smoking in Oklahoma has decreased by 19 percent in the past four years, reaching an all-time low as a result of focused efforts to reduce and prevent tobacco use.  The number of adult smokers dropped by almost 78,000 between 2013 and 2014 alone. The decrease has moved Oklahoma’s ranking to 40th in the nation, up from 47th at the start of this decade.  

While the overall smoking rate is down, there is still improvement to be made. Survey data shows that 25 – 34 year olds remain the group with the highest percentage of smokers at 28.4 percent, followed by 18 – 24 year olds at 24.1 percent.    

“We must continue efforts that prevent children and young adults from picking up smoking”, said Governor Mary Fallin. “Smoking prevention and cessation saves lives, saves money for families, improves our economy and helps deliver a healthier workforce. I want to thank the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), the Oklahoma State Department of Health and all the community partners for their efforts and ask them to keep up the good work.” 

Read the full article here

Application Period for Certified Healthy Oklahoma Programs Extended

Certified Healthy OK

Application for all Certified Healthy Oklahoma programs will now be accepted by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) through Nov. 25. Award winners will be notified in December and acknowledged at an awards ceremony in March.

There are seven categories of certification:

  • The Certified Healthy Business program recognizes workplaces that provide healthy living opportunities to their employees.
  • The Certified Healthy Campus program recognizes colleges and career technology centers that provide a healthy environment for faculty and students.
  • The Certified Healthy Community program recognizes communities that offer citizens a healthy place to live, work, learn and play.
  • The Certified Healthy Congregation program recognizes communities of all faiths that provide health and wellness opportunities to their members and/or attendees and staff.
  • The Certified Healthy Early Childhood Program recognizes early childhood programs that are providing a healthy environment for children and their families, as well as their staff.
  • The Certified Healthy Restaurant program recognizes restaurants that provide healthy food options to their customers.
  • The Certified Healthy School program recognizes schools that are teaching students and staff how to be healthy.

Each program has three levels of certification: Basic, Merit and Excellence. For more information, click here

Two Communities Receive Grant Funds for Health-Promoting Projects


The City of Alva is a two-time healthy community incentive grant award winner.The city used previous TSET funds to purchase exercise equipment for community use. Alva plans on using its most recent award of $45,000 to purchase 14 solar lights for use in Hatfield Park. The lighting will illuminate the children’s toys, pavilions, as well as the walking area in between, making it a safer place for park-goers to get in their physical activity and enjoy time outdoors. 


The TSET grant award of $92,000 to the City of McAlester will be used to build a natural playground in Mullen Park. This project has come together through a partnership of the City of McAlester and Choctaw Nation to promote health and wellness by encouraging visitors to engage in outdoor activities. The playground will be integrated into a replica of an 1800's Choctaw village and used as a Cultural Learning Center classroom for school children and for visitors, as well as a playground where children and their families can enjoy natural, creative play outdoors.

For more information on the Healthy Communities Incentive Grant program, click here

Valir Health earns WorkHealthy Hospitals Gold Star Award

Valir Health recently received WorkHealthy Hospital's Gold Star Award for its efforts to promote healthy choices among patients and employees. Valir Health has a tobacco-free worksite policy and provides to their employees the most effective treatment benefits currently available. Employees are referred for individualized quit coaching through the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, and are offered incentives to encourage them to quit tobacco and improve their health.


These strategies are the most effective and evidence-based components recommended by national health experts including Prevention Partners for comprehensive quit-tobacco systems at worksites.


WorkHealthy Hospitals is a TSET grant initiative through the Oklahoma Hospital Association. Through WorkHealthy Hospitals, 39 hospitals have implemented worksite wellness improvements since it began in July of 2013 and five more are in the process of implementing. 

Logan County Grantee Finalist for Excellence Award

Guthrie Community Garden

Congratulations to the Logan County Health Department, a Healthy Community Incentive Grant award recipient, on being a finalist for the Environmental Excellence Award for the Guthrie Community Garden.  The Keep Oklahoma Beautiful statewide Environmental Excellence Awards recognize Oklahomans for exceptional environmental improvement efforts. Finalists will be honored and winners announced during the 25th Annual Environmental Excellence Celebration. Learn more about the celebration that will take place Nov.30 here

Hydro-Eakly Public Schools Receive $3,000 Healthy District Incentive Grant Award


Pictured above from left to right: Sharon Howard, TSET Program Manager; State Senator Darcy Jech; Staci Mauney, TSET Healthy Living Program Coordinator for Caddo & Kiowa Counties; Bill Derryberry, Hydro-Eakly Superintendent; Becca Sullivan, Child Nutrition Director at Hydro-Eakly Public Schools

The Hydro-Eakly Public School District was presented with a $3,000 check Friday as part of the Healthy School District Incentive Grant program through the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET). The district will use TSET funds to purchase much needed physical education equipment. According to Becca Sullivan, the Child Nutrition Director, the district has not had the funds to purchase new PE equipment for more than 10 years. The district also plans on purchasing cardiovascular equipment and health education curriculum. 

Read the full press release here

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