Archive for February, 2012

Who’s this guy and why is he speaking to the House Public Health Committee?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

This gentleman didn’t just stumble into the House Public Health Committee yesterday (Tuesday, February 21, 2012).  He spoke on behalf of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association against HB2267/Restore Local Rights.  But he isn’t JUST representing ORA.  He didn’t mention to all of the members of the House Public Health Committee that he is also a registered Tobacco Lobbyist.  Because – why would a Tobacco Lobbyist speak at a House Pubic Health Committee?

This gentleman is Benny Vanatta – he is both a registered lobbyist for the ORA and Swisher.  But when he speaks against Restoring Local Rights  – is he speaking on behalf of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association OR Swisher?

It is common practice for tobacco companies to use  both the National Restaurant Association and State Restaurant Associations [like here in Oklahoma] ( in some states – not all.  Click here and see map) as a front to work against smoke-free policies.

“Since the 1970’s, tobacco companies have worked persistently to influence the policy positions of key hospitality trade associations for the purpose of using these third parties as front groups to undermine smokefree policies. Even though all legitimate economic studies show that smokefree air has no negative impact on business, tobacco industry strategists were successful in both buying off the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and convincing it that smokefree ordinances are bad for business.” - American for Nonsmoker’s Rights

When they say it is bad for business.  It isn’t!

When they say communities are not capable of making wise decisions.  It isn’t true!

When WE go to the Capitol and when WE speak to our legislators – we go as ourselves.
We use credible facts from ANR and the American Cancer Society.
We have nothing to hide – or another organization to hide behind.
We come as ourselves and will continue to do so until local rights are restored.

Oklahoma’s race to the bottom of bad health is NOT the race I want to win.

Find out how YOU can help.  Follow us on facebook and twitter.  Call and/or email your legislators and tell them that “You don’t want to get a job someplace else!   You want your city to be able to become smoke-free!”  Ask them to support HB2267/Restore Local Rights!

And don’t take NO for an answer!

-Paula

It is time we catch up!

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Imagine that this is what you saw when you came into our State?  You were a potential business wanting to locate in Oklahoma.   A visitor.  A band on tour……you get the picture.

We don’t really have this sign, but we might as well!  Think that people don’t look at our health statistics (#1 Smokiest City in the Nation is Tulsa.  OKC is #6), 48 our of 50, etc?  Think again – because they do.  We hear about it all of the time.

Oklahoma should have the chance to compete for regional jobs – but we are losing these jobs to neighboring states/cities…..because they are smoke-free.  (look for future post on this!)

Oklahoma has some the best/greatest communities to live in.  We are surrounded by states and cities that have clean indoor air.  Does make you feel like you’ve turned the clock back when you think of it.

-Paula

A firsthand story about secondhand smoke

Friday, February 17th, 2012

In today’s Oklahoman – there was a great letter to the editor with this very title - A firsthand story about secondhand smoke. The letter read as if I had written it.  I too grew up in a home with smokers and although a cigarette never touched my lips – I was breathing in all of the chemicals and class A carcinogens as IF I WERE A SMOKER.  Now – before some of you start thinking that this is a post against smokers it isn’t.  It is against smoking and secondhand smoke.

We live in a different age.  We know more.  YET – we still behave like we live in the past sometimes  and living in the past keeps our health and our State’s health status falling further and further behind.

What also struck me about today’s LTE was that many of the readers and followers of Breathe the Music are like the author.  Although they don’t put a cigarette to their mouths – they are breathing in enough secondhand smoke to make them a smoker.  As a matter of FACT – a pack in-a-half a day smoker.

What can we do in Oklahoma to help get the smoke OUT of your workplaces…..ALL workplaces?  We can restore local rights back to communities in Oklahoma so that they can THEN be able to work towards getting that communities workplaces smoke-free. (passing an ordinance)

Here is information about HB 2267/Restore Local Rights!  We hope that you will talk to your State Legislators about this.  Ask for them to support it!  Then share it with your friends and family and your fellow musicians and music loving friends.  You know….the ones who want to come out and support you but can stand the smoke.

We can do this!

- Paula

A firsthand story about secondhand smoke LTE

SFO HB 2267/Restore Local Rights Fact Sheet

Happy Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

HB2267 will be heard in the Public Health Committee NEXT Tuesday – February 21, 2012.  HB2267/Restore Local Rights is a similar bill to what we supported last year.  This bill, if passed and signed by Governor Fallin, will finally allow cities and towns the right to decide to have smoke-free public places!  Like BARS – where most musicians work.

This seems like the long hard way to get OUR workplaces smoke-free – but it is the ONLY way to undo what both the Tobacco Lobbyists (there are 14 registered tobacco lobbyists up at the Oklahoma State Capitol) and the Oklahoma Restaurant Association did in 1987.  But we CAN do it!

Check out this letter to the editor from last week’s Oklahoman:

Tobacco lobby damages Oklahoma’s health

Want to find out how you can help?  Contact Paula at: paula@breathethemusic.com!

Until then – Happy Valentine’s Day.