Oklahoma's tobacco-using military veterans will be urged to quit ... but they don't have to | Cigarettes Blog

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oklahoma's tobacco-using military veterans will be urged to quit ... but they don't have to

Tobacco-using veterans living at one of the seven state-run centers in Oklahoma will be asked to give up their habits in the near future but likely won't be forced to leave their residences if they don't quit, according to a letter sent on behalf of Gov. Mary Fallin to the War Veterans Commission.
Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said several veterans called the governor's office after they learned that all state facilities would become tobacco-free by early August. The governor signed an executive order Feb. 6, declaring that all state-owned properties would become tobacco-free within six months.
That includes veterans centers, where roughly 20 percent of the residents smoke or use other forms of tobacco.
Many of them started smoking while they were in the military. Many claim they were encouraged to smoke to remain vigilant and slender while they served. And many claim they were given cigarettes in their rations by the federal government.
‘Special circumstances'Weintz said these “special circumstances” have led to a clarifying of the executive order, which he says is supposed to give different state agencies more leeway when it comes time to implement the changes.
“There has certainly been some confusion about the governor's executive order,” he said. “The governor's intent is certainly not to kick veterans out of these centers or do anything unreasonable.
“We also know that many of these veterans started smoking while they were in the service, and that's certainly something we're sensitive to.”
A letter from the state's general counsel, Steven K. Mullins, tells the commission exactly what is expected over the next three years.
According to the letter, the War Veterans Commission has until the end of the year to submit a plan to implement Fallin's tobacco-free executive order.

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