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TSET Board Renews Grant to Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center at Stephenson Cancer Center

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 12, 2020) – Oklahomans will continue to have access to cutting-edge science and research in addiction and tobacco cessation after the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Board of Directors voted today to renew its grant to the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center (OTRC).

The grant provides up to $11.4 million over three years for research into addiction and the harms of tobacco and nicotine products. The renewal recognizes the progress of OTRC scientists, whose efforts currently include 25 active studies with federal awards totaling over $29 million in research funding.

“The faculty at OTRC are performing vital research into the harms of tobacco and the nature of addiction,” said TSET Board of Directors Chair Bruce Benjamin, Ph.D. “OTRC researchers are exploring how to use new technologies to aid cessation, investigating the harms of vaping and more. Their research is crucial to countering Big Tobacco’s innovation and investment in new products designed to hook the next generation on nicotine.”

OTRC scientists are a pivotal component of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Stephenson Cancer Center and were vital to Stephenson becoming Oklahoma’s only National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center. The TSET grant also will continue to recruit new scientists to Oklahoma, award research grants to Oklahoma scientists and leverage funds to advance behavioral and cessation research.

Included in those studies is work by Alayna Tackett, Ph.D., that focuses on tobacco regulatory science with an emphasis on the effects of e-cigarettes among youth and young adults.

“The scientists at OTRC continue to build a premier tobacco research program and it is the research of Dr. Tackett and others who are keeping the pulse on new tobacco products designed to hook our youth. TSET is pleased to support these efforts that bring expertise, innovation and vital knowledge to our state,” said Julie Bisbee, TSET executive director.

TSET was created by a constitutional amendment in 2000 as a long-term strategy to improve health and ensure settlement payments from a 1998 multi-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry. Funds are used to improve the health of all Oklahomans and are placed in an endowment to ensure a growing funding source for generations to come. Only the earnings from the endowment are used to fund grants and programs. To learn more, visit www.tset.ok.gov.

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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.