More money sought to stop youth smoking
We need to stop this very stoppable public health epidemic, Dr. Robert McCaffree, director of the Oklahoma Tobacco Reduction and Cessation Campaign, said Monday. McCaffree said smoking is the single greatest preventable cause of disease, illness and prema
This is about people, McCaffree said. We have a chance to have the greatest impact on public health that weâ€™ve had since the polio epidemic of the 1950s.
"Tobacco-caused illnesses are the number one cause of preventable deaths in the state and little is being done to combat this problem."
Dr. Robert McCaffree
Norm Leimgrubler, a Vietnam veteran whose larynx was removed in 1995 due to a smoking-related condition, was one of several people who appeared at a news conference to discuss the dangers of smoking and the need for cessation programs
The danger of smoking just cannot be overemphasized, said Leimgrubler, who spoke with the aid of an electronic voice amplifier.
Mickey Carpenter, whose mother is critically ill due to years of smoking, said the best way to avoid becoming ill from smoking is to never start.
I asked my mother what is the stupidest thing youâ€™ve ever done, Carpenter said. She said smoking.
A report released by the anti-smoking groups found that 6,000 Oklahomans die each year from tobacco-caused diseases and that about 40 children become daily smokers each day, more than 14,000 a year.
Tobacco-caused illnesses are the number one cause of preventable deaths in the state and little is being done to combat this problem, McCaffree said.
Representatives of anti-smoking groups participating in the OnTRACK program distributed leaflets to members of the House and Senate calling for $15 million of Oklahomaâ€™s share of the nationwide tobacco settlement for smoking cessation programs.
We do have an effective way to fight this, McCaffree said. House Speaker Loyd Benson, D-Frederick, has proposed a health care initiative that sets aside $1.5 million in tobacco funds for smoking cessation programs that would generate an additional $3 million in federal funds.
But members of the coalition said the funds would be limited to Medicaid-approved expenditures and could not be used for enforcement and counter-advertising.