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With tweaked tobacco plan, governor does right by Oklahoma veterans

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: April 18, 2012

Gov. Mary Fallin has decided that if veterans who already live in Oklahoma's state-run homes want to light up, they can. Let's hear it for common sense ruling the day.

In February, Fallin signed an executive order aimed at making state property smoke free. The order declared that tobacco products were prohibited “on any and all properties owned, leased or contracted for use by the State of Oklahoma.”

That raised concerns among those who live in and operate Oklahoma's seven veterans centers, and with good reason. As a spokeswoman for the Veterans Affairs Department pointed out, Uncle Sam supplied many of these veterans with cigarettes while they were serving their country, and for the state to now ask them to quit would be unfair.

There was never any real threat of veterans being evicted over their smoking — the executive order didn't include an enforcement piece, instead that was left to the individual state agencies to decide. But some veterans interviewed by The Oklahoman said they would indeed move elsewhere if the home where they lived banned tobacco use. And many vets let the governor's office know they were irked about the pending change.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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