July Newsletter

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TSET Newsletter

July 31, 2019

Julie Bisbee: National Tobacco 21 legislation could have merit, but tobacco industry influence remains a concern

Julie Bisbee Headshot

Anti-tobacco advocates are questioning some proposals to raise the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Raising the minimum purchasing age is part of Tobacco Stops With Me’s 7-point plan to cut the adult smoking rate in half over the next decade. A law to increase the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 cuts off a major pipeline for underage tobacco access from peers, prevents premature deaths and has the potential to reduce Oklahoma’s smoking rate by as much as 12 percent. While legislation at the national level is significant, it is important that the legislation is scrutinized and written for maximum impact, and not as a public relations win for Big Tobacco.

History has shown that Big Tobacco has prioritized profit over people time and time again. A federal judge in 2006 ruled that tobacco companies violated civil racketeering laws and lied to the American public about the addictiveness of nicotine, adverse health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke and marketed tobacco to children.

As a state agency, TSET’s role is to educate Oklahomans on the benefits of modernizing our state’s tobacco and smokefree laws and making sure young people don’t continue to fuel Big Tobacco’s business model to attract and addict its next generation of customers. When it comes to any legislation seeking to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21, I ask that you read any bill language closely to seek out whether or not the tobacco industry has implanted provisions making health-promoting policies harder to enact in the future.

Click here to read examples of health-promoting language and to learn more about how Oklahoma would benefit from raising the tobacco purchase age to 21. 

Don’t miss out! Register now for the Southern Obesity Summit

Join TSET for the 2019 Southern Obesity Summit, being held in Oklahoma City October 28-30. This summit is the largest regional obesity prevention event in the United States.

Southern states have some of the highest obesity rates in the country. The aim of the Summit is to provide an educational and collaborative environment to fight obesity and unhealthy attitudes so that Americans can live longer and healthier. (Check out the exciting agenda!)

The Southern Obesity Summit will be held at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City and will be presented by TSET and the Texas Health Institute (THI).

Visit SouthernObesitySummit.com to register and to learn about sponsorship opportunities.

SOS 2019

Want to hear more from TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee? Check out the new @TSETDirector account on Twitter

Julie Bisbee Twitter

Want to learn even more about TSET’s work to improve health in Oklahoma? Give @TSETDirector a follow on Twitter! The account is managed by TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee and was created to further transparency and open the lines of communication.

You can access the Twitter account by clicking here.

TSET welcomes new Director of Public Information and Outreach

Thomas Larson

Thomas Larson recently joined TSET as the new Director of Public Information and Outreach. Before joining TSET, Thomas worked with a variety of nonprofit and for-profit clients as a public relations account executive at Koch Communications. He has also held communications and policy positions at nonprofits NewView Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center. Thomas served eight years in the Office of Governor Brad Henry, working in several capacities including as press secretary. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Oklahoma Baptist University.

Thomas is passionate about TSET’s mission and feels a personal stake in helping other Oklahomans curb tobacco use and adopt healthier lifestyles. After struggling against tobacco addiction for many years, Thomas will be two years smoke free on August 23.   

In his spare time, Thomas enjoys reading, gardening, cycling and spending time outdoors.

TSET is excited to have Thomas on board! He can be reached at ThomasL@tset.ok.gov or 405-521-4992.