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TSET Board of Directors Approves Funding for Youth Education Programs

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 19, 2020) – The Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) on Tuesday awarded a contract for a new statewide marketing initiative focused on preventing and reducing tobacco use and obesity for Oklahoma’s youth.

“The coronavirus pandemic has shown that prevention is more important than ever for public health. That’s why here at TSET we continue to invest in Oklahoma’s future by helping youth develop healthy habits at a young age,” said TSET Board of Directors Chair Bruce Benjamin, Ph.D. 

The Board approved a contract with Rescue, a marketing agency focused on health campaigns, to launch a statewide education campaign focused on Oklahoma youth ages 13 through 18. Funding begins July 1 with the first messaging expected to begin in September 2020. The plan calls for an investment of $2.5 million a year over five years with specific behavior change benchmarks to be reached around tobacco use, prevention and cessation and obesity prevention and reduction. 

The specific focus on youth prevention would be a new program under TSET’s public education efforts and will complement Tobacco Stops With Me, which seeks to educate Oklahoma adults on the hazards of tobacco use and secondhand smoke and Shape Your Future, which educates parents and families on eating better, moving more and living tobacco free. 

“Over the last two years, a vaping epidemic among youth has erased two decades of gains in the fight against youth tobacco use,” said Michelle Stephens, vice chair of the TSET Board of Directors. “We know that healthy habits learned at a young age are more likely to last for a lifetime. Ensuring a healthy future for our state means focusing on Oklahoma’s children today.”

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working toward shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public's health. To learn more, visit tset.ok.gov.

TSET. Better Lives Through Better Health.