Apr 17 2012
Tobacco use of veterans living in one of seven national centers in Oklahoma will be asked to give up their habits in the near future, but probably will not be forced to leave their homes if they do not smoke, according to a letter sent on behalf of Governor Mary Fallin in the Veterans Commission.
Representative Fallin Alex Weintz said that some veterans called the office of Governor, after they learned that all government agencies will be free of tobacco in early August. The governor signed an executive order on February 6, said that all public property will be tobacco-free for six months. This includes veterans of the center, where about 20 percent of people smoke or uses other tobacco products.
Many of them started smoking when they were in the army. Many argue that they were designed to smoke to remain vigilant and well-built, when they served. And many argue that they were given cigarettes in your diet from the federal government.
Weintz said that these “special circumstances” led to the clarification of the executive order, he said, should provide a variety of state agencies more freedom when it comes time to make changes.
“There certainly was some confusion regarding the disposal of the governor,” he said. “The intention of the governor, of course, do not hit the veterans of these centers and not do anything foolish.
“We also know that many of these veterans, started smoking when they were in the service, and this is certainly something that we are sensitive to.”
A letter from the Consul General of the State, Steven K. Mullins, said the commission is exactly what is expected in the next three years.
According to the letter, Veterans Commission before the end of the year to submit a plan for implementing a Tobacco-Free Fallin executive in order.
“Staging the sentence”
“Staging the sentence” must achieve a tobacco-free environment for veterans of the state by the beginning of 2015, slightly less than three years. This proposal will also include a “treatment and accommodation” plan for veterans with drug abuse and mental health.
The letter also states that any new residents – those that enter the facility after the War Veterans Commission implements its plan – will have to sign a “No Tobacco disclosure and acceptance form” before moving to the center of the state veterans.
“Based on the needs of the grandfather exception policy” is also expected to be in place for tobacco-using veterans already living in the centers, in accordance with the letter Mullins.
“We must continue to improve the quality of life of these heroes of Oklahoma, remembering that the implementation of our policy should reflect respect for their services and to provide each person the dignity of their person,” Mullins wrote. ”
“I do not want to leave”
Longtime smoker Paul Kepley, 69, lives in the center of the veterans in Sulphur.
He was glad when I heard about the letter from the governor.
“I do not want to leave … I’ve been in business for too long,” said Kepley. “I do not want to leave here, either. For many of us, this is our home. We do not want to leave.”
Kepley said that many of the veterans with the use of tobacco in the center of the sulfur were concerned about the impending August 6 deadline. He said that many of them were strongly considering moving if they said they could not use tobacco anymore.
“It’s kind of relaxes me, smoking is doing,” he said. “Especially after eating … there’s just something about it. And for the governor to assume that away from us it is not. So, I’m glad that she did not.”