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TSET Statement on the 2021 American Lung Association Report

The American Lung Association’s annual State of Tobacco Control 2021 report was released on January 27. Oklahoma earned an A grade in access to cessation services. The state garnered D grades in tobacco prevention and cessation funding, smokefree air, and tobacco taxes. The state received a failing grade in flavored tobacco products. Despite the D grade in prevention and cessation funding, Oklahoma is still in the top 10 among states, with 42 states receiving failing grades in that category. To view the full report, visit https://www.lung.org/research/sotc

Statement on Access to Cessation
Attributable to Thomas Larson, TSET director of public information and outreach

Thanks to coordination, leveraging of resources and long term planning to help Oklahomans quit smoking, we are seeing strides in this area and we are ahead of the pack nationally. Oklahoma is one of five states in the country that earned the high marks from the Lung Association for creating access to medication and coaching to help people quit tobacco. Much of that is due to Oklahoma voters’ vision in creating TSET 20 years ago.

The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline (1-800-QUIT NOW), ongoing public education efforts and strategic partnerships with state agencies, tribes, communities and healthcare partners have put Oklahoma in this enviable position. To date, more than 450,000 Oklahomans have accessed the Helpline, TSET’s oldest and longest-running program. Quit rates among Oklahomans who have accessed services from the Helpline meet or exceed national benchmarks. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline was the first program funded by TSET after its creation by voters. 

The grades in the Lung Report also reflect room for improvement for laws and policies that would prevent tobacco use, protect Oklahomans from second-hand smoke and close loopholes in Oklahoma’s clean indoor air laws. 

Statement on the D in tobacco funding
Attributable to Thomas Larson, TSET director of public information and outreach

Funding for efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use continue to be a challenge for all states. A majority of states failed this benchmark. Oklahoma’s tobacco use prevention and cessation work is primarily funded by the earnings from the voter created Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. By using the earnings from endowment investments, TSET has been able to invest in long term infrastructure – like the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline and partnerships that seek to bring cessation to those who are seeking treatment. 

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is a free service for Oklahomans who want to quit tobacco. Funding is primarily provided by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), in partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline has served more than 450,000 Oklahomans since 2003 and has been ranked among the top quitlines for reaching tobacco users seeking treatment for the last ten years by the North American Quitline Consortium.