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TSET Focuses on Stopping the Start of Tobacco Use

Tobacco Stops With Me Launches New Series of its Educational Messaging

OKLAHOMA CITY – August 28, 2017 –Big Tobacco has been targeting kids for decades to recruit new smokers and guarantee continued profits. The tobacco companies have done a good job with their marketing efforts with 9 out of 10 smokers starting by age 18. To counter their deadly efforts, Tobacco Stops With Me, a program of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), has launched a new series in its tobacco prevention campaign: Stop the Start.

“Big Tobacco knows that if kids start smoking, they are unlikely to be able to quit, even if they want to,” said John Woods, TSET executive director. “Stopping the start of tobacco use by educating key influencers in children’s lives is one of the single best things we can do for the health of our children and our state.”

Tobacco Stops With me is a statewide educational program that provides an emotional and highly recognizable tobacco-free message for Oklahomans to rally around. The Stop the Start messaging focuses on helping parents, teachers, coaches and other influencers in the lives of Oklahoma’s youth to take a stand against tobacco by talking to kids about the dangers of tobacco use and the benefits of never starting. Stop the Start focuses on five simple steps to begin the conversation:

  • Share the Facts
  • Talk Early and Often
  • Help your child learn to say “No” by giving your child easy ways to reject tobacco
  • Make it a Two-Way Conversation
  • Lead by Example

By sharing this messaging, Tobacco Stops With Me works to prevent Oklahoma kids from becoming addicted to tobacco – and suffering from the impact of the addiction on their health and wallets. In Oklahoma alone, smoking kills more than 7,500 adults annually and leaves thousands suffering with chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. Only by countering Big Tobacco’s callous grab for profits and disregard for children’s lives can Oklahomans save our vulnerable youth.

In their own words, tobacco executives say how getting children hooked on their addictive products is vital to their business, “If the tobacco companies really stopped marketing to children, they would be out of business in 30 years,” said Bennett LeBow, President of Vector Holdings Group, in industry documents obtained during the court battle that lead to the Master Settlement Agreement.

Learn more about the Stops With Me campaign at stopswithme.com/stop-the-start/. Learn more about motivating peers to be tobacco free at StopsWithMe.com. Call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit OKhelpline.com to explore the free services available through the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline.

For more information contact:
Julie Bisbee
julieb@tset.ok.gov
(405) 521-4992

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About Tobacco Stops With Me
Tobacco Stops With Me is a statewide campaign, funded through the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Trust, that provides an efficient, emotional and highly recognizable tobacco-free message for Oklahomans to rally around. By educating the public about the negative effects and impact of tobacco, the goal of Tobacco Stops With Me is to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and improve the health and quality of life of every Oklahoman. Tobacco Stops With Me aims to inspire individuals to make positive changes—not only for their own health, but for the health of the entire state as well.

About TSET
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 to tset.ok.gov.