September Newsletter

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TSET Newsletter

September 26, 2018

Join Tobacco Stops With Me along with statewide partners for a landmark announcement on October 10th

Tobacco Stops With Me, Oklahoma’s initiative to educate the public on the dangers of secondhand smoke and preventing tobacco use, is commemorating 10 years of improving health on October 10th with a landmark announcement. Together with partners from across the state, Tobacco Stops With Me will announce a new effort that will save thousands of lives and millions of dollars in our state.

Join Tobacco Stops With Me at 10 a.m. on October 10 at the Oklahoma History Center or watch the announcement live on Facebook to learn how you and your organization can support saving lives and improving Oklahoma’s health landscape by cutting the Oklahoma adult smoking rate in half over the next decade.

Following the announcement, Tobacco Stops With Me will host national tobacco control policy experts for discussions on how similar efforts to modernize and update tobacco laws and programs have led to healthier states – and how Oklahoma can avoid falling behind through policy changes with public and organizational support.  

To learn more about the event, visit Tobacco Stops With Me on Facebook. To learn more about Tobacco Stops With Me, visit


TSET Board of Directors Awards Healthy District Incentive Program grants

Schools Image

Two school districts received TSET Healthy Incentive Program grants in September for working to improve the health of students, teachers and staff.

The TSET Board of Directors approved $43,000 in grants for Maryetta Public Schools in Adair County and Sulphur Public Schools in Murray County as part of the TSET Healthy Incentive Program for Schools.

Maryetta Public Schools received an $18,000 grant and will use the funds for playground improvements and will add fitness stations to their existing walking trail. Sulphur Public Schools received $25,000 and plans to use grant funds to make improvements to its walking track. Both projects will increase opportunities for physical activity for students and community members as each district allows the public to use the trail and track outside of the school day through a shared use agreement.

Three Oklahoma communities honored for efforts to improve health

City leaders from Coalgate, Stroud and Muskogee were recognized at the Oklahoma Municipal League’s annual conference in September, for efforts to improve health and quality of life with a TSET Healthy Communities Incentive Program grant.  

The City of Coalgate received a $20,000 incentive grant and plans to use grant funds for sidewalk improvements and wayfinding signs to help encourage walking and biking throughout the city.

The City of Muskogee received a $70,000 incentive grant and plans to use grant dollars for sidewalk connection design and the construction of two sidewalk projects to help residents increase physical activity. This was not the first incentive grant for the City of Muskogee. The city was awarded a $50,000 grant at the bronze and silver levels in 2015.

The City of Stroud received a $20,000 incentive grant and has used the grant dollars for a farmers market pavilion. The pavilion allows farmers to sell their produce and has become a center point for community events.

TSET offers grants to eligible communities that have met criteria established for the program such as tobacco-free, vapefree policies, availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, an active employee wellness committee, and increasing opportunities for residents to become more physically active. 

Coalgate Big Check

Pictured from left to right: Mike Fina, OML Executive Director; Mike Elkins, Coalgate Mayor; John Woods, TSET Executive Director

Ponca City School District recognized for promoting health and wellness

Ponca City Public Schools received a $20,000 incentive grant through the TSET Healthy Incentive Program for schools.

Ponca City Public Schools put a variety of policies and strategies in place to promote health and wellness for students and staff. The school district worked with local contractor, Evans & Associates, to construct a walking track at Liberty Elementary School. The track is available for use by the students during the school day and can be utilized by the community outside of the school day for physical activity.

 “These grants recognize the efforts of schools and school districts that are actively promoting healthy lifestyles. Studies show that active, healthy kids perform better in school,” said TSET Executive Director John Woods. “Habits formed early last a lifetime and we want to recognize schools that are making the healthy choice the easy choice for students, staff and the community.” 

Ponca City Big Check

Pictured from left to right: Sharon Howard, Program Manager, TSET Healthy Schools Incentive Program; John Woods, TSET Executive Director; Shelley Arrott, Ponca City Public Schools Superintendent; Jennifer Martinez, Liberty Elementary Principal; Bret Smith, Ponca City Public Schools Director of Operations; Ken Luttrell, State Representative-elect; Jennifer Creech, Program Coordinator, TSET Healthy Living Program serving Kay county

Stephenson Cancer Center recruits health economist to help Oklahoma better understand tobacco control

Dr. Ce Shang

The Stephenson Cancer Center has recruited Ce Shang, Ph.D., a health economist with extensive experience in tobacco control research. According to Jennifer Vidrine, Ph.D., Director of the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center at the Stephenson Cancer Center, “Her research in tobacco regulatory science will play an important part of our mission to help end tobacco-related mortality in Oklahoma.”

Shang earned a Ph.D. in Economics from City University of New York in 2011 and is joining the cancer center from the University of Illinois at Chicago where she served as a Senior Research Scientist in the Institute for Health Research and Policy. Her research focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of tobacco control policies, including taxation and smoke-free air laws.  Shang’s recruitment is supported by funding from TSET.

The mission of the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center is to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, tobacco-related mortality in Oklahoma through research that informs interventions and policies with a particular emphasis on addressing tobacco-related health disparities.