February Newsletter

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February Newsletter

February 25, 2020


The “TSET Better Health Podcast” will feature subject matter experts in a variety of areas.

'TSET Better Health Podcast' to Launch

The “TSET Better Health Podcast” will help promote ways that Oklahomans can embrace healthier lifestyles and discuss the research and policies that support behavior changes from community to state levels.

Subject matter experts will be interviewed on an array of topics from tobacco use and prevention, physical activity, nutrition, healthy behavior change, local and state health initiatives and cutting edge research in Oklahoma. The first interview will feature Amy Cohn, Ph.D., an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center.

More details coming soon!


The vast majority of tobacco users today begin when they are young. In Oklahoma, 1,500 kids under 18 become new daily smokers each year.

Their Future is Our Business

Take Down Tobacco Day, a national youth platform that encourages youth and tobacco-control advocates to speak out against the tobacco industry, is set for March 18.

Take Down Tobacco Day gives Oklahoma youth the opportunity to tell their peers about the harm caused by tobacco products – especially e-cigarettes that are seeing a drastic increase in usage by high school students,” said Julie Bisbee, TSET executive director.

This year marks the 25th occurrence of the national event (formerly called Kick Butts Day). TSET grantees partner with organizations across the state to host events for Take Down Tobacco Day. To find a TSET grantee in your county, visit StopsWithMe.com. Also, check out our Facebook and Twitter accounts.


The Law of the Land

A Senate bill moving through the Oklahoma legislature would support a federal law change making the minimum age to purchase tobacco 21. In December 2019, President Donald Trump signed legislation that increased the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 years old. Senate Bill 1423 now has passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and is waiting to be voted on by the Oklahoma Senate.

“It’s a great move but there’s more to be done,” said Julie Bisbee, TSET executive director. Read what Bisbee has to say in the Jan. 11 issue of the Tulsa World.

Varnum school

Varnum Public Schools is one of five schools to receive an incentive grant. From left, Jon Greenwood, Gateway to Prevention director; Sharon Howard, Healthy Living Program (HLP) program manager; Brenda Shockley, Varnum Elementary School principal; David Brewer, Varnum superintendent; state Rep. Zack Taylor; Lisa Pitts, HLP grantee; and Claudia Willis, HLP grantee.

Helping Public Schools

TSET recently recognized five public schools for efforts to pass policies that encourage healthy behaviors in students, faculty and staff.

In Seminole County:

  • Konawa Public School received a $17,000 incentive grant to purchase a hydration water bottle filling station and an employee wellness program;
  • Sasakwa Public Schools received a $15,000 incentive grant to buy a protective canopy to cover playground equipment;
  • Varnum Public Schools received a $15,000 incentive grant to obtain playground equipment and water bottle filling hydration stations.

In Pottawatomie County:

  • Asher Public Schools received a $15,000 incentive grant to purchase playground equipment, physical education equipment and a water bottle filling hydration station;
  • South Rock Creek Public School received a $13,500 incentive grant to install a concrete play pad for its prekindergarten-kindergarten playground. They also will use funds for an outdoor classroom, new physical education equipment, health education curriculum and upgraded water fountains.

Learn more here.


Photo courtesy of Whitney Porch-VanHeuvelen

Health Communication Programs Honored

On Feb. 8, TSET health communication programs received 13 American Advertising Awards (ADDYs). TSET was recognized for promotions that focused on Tobacco Stops With Me, Shape Your Future and the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline.

“TSET health communication programs are important in raising awareness about the many dangers of tobacco, as well as showing Big Tobacco’s tactics to hook our youth on nicotine. TSET promotes a healthier lifestyle for all ages,” said Julie Bisbee, TSET executive director.

The ADDYs are the advertising industry’s largest competition. The 54th annual awards ceremony for Oklahoma was held in Oklahoma City.