FACTS: Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Oklahoma. 88,000 kids now under 18 and alive in Oklahoma will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. The human brain develops until we reach our mid-20s and the fastest, most critical brain growth occurs during the teen years. Using nicotine at an early age permanents alters the brain.

The State of Tobacco Control Report Card has given Oklahoma a letter grade of F because there are no restrictions, laws or regulations on flavored tobacco products, and a letter grade of D for substandard tobacco prevention and control program funding. If Oklahoma wants to become a Top 10 state, we have to do better with regard to lung health initiatives.

As a Deer Creek School Board member, former smoker and lung health advocate, I recently presented a talk to each of the health classes at Deer Creek High School on the dangers of vaping. Vaping has become an epidemic in our high schools and even middle schools. 31% of Oklahoma high school students are using these tobacco products.

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