Anti smoking campaign money

Wednesday, April 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Stock prices are down; the number of Oklahoma smokers is up. The State of Oklahoma is hoping to use some of its tobacco settlement money to reverse the trend for smokers. KOTV's Jenny McNeill says Tulsa County is receiving $3.3-million from the tobacco settlement to reduce tobacco use.

Tulsa County and city leader are talking about upcoming programs aimed at doing just that. At Claud's there's not a smoking section, that was taken out about three years ago. Owner, Larry Hobson "People could smoke anywhere." The Hobson's say it's less of a hassle to have a smoke-free environment. Their customers seem to be happy with the decision. Customer, Ernest Porter says "I like it better." So do the people working toward a tobacco free state. Although measures to ban smoking in public places died earlier this year in the legislature. Health activists are getting together to spend part of the state's multi-million-dollars tobacco settlement.

More than three million is coming Tulsa County's way for new programs. They're bringing in help from Florida that’s where Chuck Wolfe leads a successful teen smoking campaign. "You need to empower young people to fight the tobacco industry." Since an estimated 76% of smokers pick up the habit in their teens that's where his program focuses. Wolfe: What's going to happen is a comprehensive movement to change the social norms of the community that helps people understand that the use of tobacco products is not cool it's rebellious." His student led program called Students Working Against Tobacco, or SWAT, is what Oklahoma is implementing. Everyone will get to quit on Wednesday; it's Kick-Butts day where people are encouraged to give up smoking.

Sheridan Lanes is participating, but it won't be easy because 70% of customers smoke. The manager says smoke-free leagues are available, but the smoke ban will only be tried for a day, not knowing what results he'll get. Manager Brian Clark says, "Announce it to them and see what happens and hopefully they'll get involved too because we're doing it for community service." Those wanting to strike Oklahoma out of the top ten in smoking, say they hope their idea works. Wednesday about 150 teenagers traveled from Tulsa to Oklahoma City to participate in Kick Butts day at the Capitol.

If you'd like more information about Tulsa County's stop smoking campaigns, you can call 595-7686.