OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 15, 2014) – The executive director of the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) has been named the chair of an international group that seeks to promote evidence-based tobacco quitline services.
TSET Executive Director Tracey Strader was named chair of the North American Quitline Consortium (NAQC) earlier this month and will serve a 2-year term. Strader has served on the non-profit’s board since 2010. She has also served as vice-chair and was elected as chair of the board by her peers earlier this month.
NAQC is a 501c3 non-profit established in 2004, that seeks to promote evidence-based quitline services across diverse communities in North America. The organization has more than 400 individuals and organizations that provide tobacco quitline services in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Member groups fund quitlines, conduct research on quitline-related topics, advance national tobacco cessation policies and work in other areas to reduce tobacco use.
Under Strader’s leadership at TSET, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline (1-800- QUIT NOW) began in 2003. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is supported by an award-winning media campaign, Tobacco Stops With Me. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline offers free telephone and web-based cessation coaching and free nicotine patches, gum and lozenges.
In 2013, Oklahoma’shelpline was ranked No. 1 in the nation for reaching tobacco users in need of services. The Helpline has a 34 percent quit rate for callers who receive multiple coaching calls, while tobacco users who quit cold turkey have a 5 percent success rate.
The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is primarily funded by TSET, in partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Oklahoma Employees Group Insurance Division, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline began, more than 275,000 Oklahomans have used the service, reducing an estimated $18 million each year in direct medical costs from tobacco users who have quit with assistance from the helpline.
TSET was created when voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2000 to ensure payments to the state as a result of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement would be used to improve the health of all Oklahomans. The constitutional amendment ensures the majority of the payments to Oklahoma from the tobacco industry are invested and only the earnings are used for grants and programs that seek to reduce the leading cause of death in Oklahoma, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Oklahoma was one of 46 states that sued the largest U.S. tobacco companies to recover tobacco-related health care costs. Oklahoma will continue to receive payments from the Master Settlement Agreement as long as cigarettes are sold nationally.
The tobacco settlement payments investments are overseen by a five-member board of investors, chaired by the State Treasurer.
TSET’s grant programs are overseen by a seven-member appointed board of directors, representing each of the state’s congressional districts. The Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the State Auditor and Inspector each have appointments to both boards. The Attorney General, State Superintendent of Public Instruction and Treasurer appoint the additional members of the Board of Directors.
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The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives 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. TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health. To learn more, go www.tset.ok.gov.