Oklahoma fails on reducing tobacco use in 2016 - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Oklahoma fails on reducing tobacco use in 2016

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -The state is getting a wake up call after results of a national report says Oklahoma is failing when it comes to reducing tobacco use in the state.

The American Lung Association's "State of Tobacco Control" report says in 2016 Oklahoma failed to do enough to implement effective tobacco control policies that would help save lives.

We received a "C" in tobacco prevention, "D" in smoke-free air and "F"'s in both tobacco taxes and minimum age for sale of tobacco products. However, Oklahoma did get a "B" on its media coverage and access to Services to Quit Tobacco, such as the 1-800-QUIT NOW hotline.

The American Lung Association is now urging lawmakers to pass a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law and increase the cigarette tax by at least one dollar per pack.

"Smoking kills and hurt a bunch of people," said Charles Collins, smoker. "I haven't quit. My doctor told me to quit, but I haven't quit."

Charles Collins is one of the 22 percent of Oklahomans that smoke on a daily basis. That statistic is According to the American Lung Association. Collins says he knows it's bad, but just can't help it.

"It gets to be a habit," said Collins. "You're going to stay with it until you get to coughing and doing all these things and you know. I'm 67, I've been doing this for many years. It's hard to kick it."

The state does offer a help line for people just like Charles, 1-800- QUIT-NOW that anyone can call if they need help to stop smoking. Sandy Foster, the Program Director for Healthy Living at Comanche County Memorial Hospital says it comes with a lot of benefits.

"They get two free weeks of packages of gum or nicotine lozenges and two free weeks of nicotine replacement therapy," said Foster. "No other state that I know of does this consistently. We here in Oklahoma are one of the only ones that will do that."

Foster recommends the state increase the price of tobacco because studies show it will keep 32,000 children from ever starting to smoke. She says there's more work to be done to fix this problem such as adding smoke prevention classes in schools, support groups and other programs for smokers wanting to quit.

"We really need to pass a comprehensive clean indoor air law," said Foster. "Right now we do have some protection, but for instance restaurants can still have smoking areas. Not many of them do anymore because there are laws required to what you have to build and how it has to be, but bars are exempt from that."

Collins says he would be willing to try anything it would take to quit, especially because he understands the dangers of second hand smoke.

"I got respect for people that do not smoke and I try not to smoke around them if I can," said Collins. "If I'm getting in your car or something I won't smoke in there."

Foster hopes the state will move forward and take steps toward getting A's on the next report for the sake of everyone in our state.

"I just think that when your rights are affecting my health or the health of those that I love then we have to take action," said Foster.

If you need help quitting you can call the number 1-800-QUIT-NOW and say you're an Oklahoma resident then you will be directed to someone within the state for the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline.

Powered by Frankly