Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma Supports Local Tobacco Control
Company's efforts align with Gov. Fallin's State of the State address
Tulsa, OK — In today's State of the State address, Gov. Mary Fallin showed her support for a tobacco-free environment in Oklahoma – specifically supporting "local control." Several statewide organizations are showing similar support, such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, the State Department of Health and the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan.
With the support of local organizations and businesses, Oklahoma legislators are currently considering laws that could lift these restrictions. Senate Bill 36 would allow communities to make healthier choices at the local level. Oklahoma and Tennessee are the only two states in the nation that prohibit local communities from establishing tobacco laws that are stricter than those of the state.
"Our communities deserve the opportunity to engage in local dialogue and take steps closer to improving the health of their residents," said Ted Haynes, President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma. "We owe it to the next generation to open the door to healthier communities."
History shows that healthier communities equal healthier businesses. As mentioned in the State of the State address, tobacco costs Oklahomans more than $2 billion in health care costs and lost workforce productivity annually. Almost 6,000 Oklahomans die each year due to smoking-related illnesses. Restoring "local control" can allow communities to react to the desires of their citizens.