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Fiscal Oversight Report: TSET Should Reprioritize Spending

Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust

A budget watchdog at the state Capitol issued a report Monday, critiquing the way the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) spends its funds.

The Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency, or LOFT, suggested in its report that TSET spending is not effective in its mission to lower rates of smoking in the state.

"Oklahoma currently ranks 8th highest in spending among states (based on percent of CDC recommended spending) but ranks 40th when it comes to adult smoking prevalence and 44th in youth smoking prevalence," the report says.

"LOFT observed a lack of evidence demonstrating correlation between state spending on tobacco cessation and prevention and smoking prevalence."

In a statement, Julie Bisbee, TSET's executive director, said she welcomed collaboration.

"TSET always welcomes the opportunity to have a conversation about how to improve the health of Oklahomans," Bisbee said. "While we disagree with several of the report’s findings, we appreciate this review and acknowledgement of our prevention and cessation programs. TSET is the state’s largest funder of prevention, focused on combating tobacco use and obesity, the root causes of most of the state’s poor health outcomes. TSET uses a data-driven approach and is consistently seeking to improve data collection to improve the effectiveness of programs and better show our impact on Oklahomans. It is encouraging that the legislature is asking these questions and studying public health as that could lead to the passage of state policies, such as a comprehensive clean indoor air law, that will improve the health of Oklahomans."

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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