Number of Okla. teen smokers drops
Nearly one-third fewer Oklahoma teenagers smoked cigarettes last year compared to 1999, according to a state Health Department survey, the Associated Press reported. The random survey of 4,000 high school and middle school students estimated there were 54,115 teen smokers in 2005. A similar survey estimated a total of 82,187 smokers in 1999. The survey asked students if they had smoked one or more cigarettes in the past 30 days. Results of the latest survey were released Aug. 14.
In Tulsa County, an estimated 5,134 of the city’s 29,172 high schoolers were smoking in 2005, compared to 9,743 in 1999.
Jack Arnold, director of Tulsa Public Schools’ safe and drug-free schools program, said the state’s recent anti-tobacco stance also has helped reduce smoking. Students see fewer adults smoking, thanks largely to laws restricting smoking in restaurants.
But, he said, school districts can’t depend on the state to lead the way. He said during the years covered by the smoking study, Tulsa schools banned smoking on its properties.
Also during the time covered by the study, Tulsa schools started working with the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission to reduce smoking. Students are fined $100 if they are caught with tobacco; if they don’t pay the fine, they face driving suspensions.
If they are not 16 when they are cited and don’t pay, they won’t receive their license; if they already have their license, they won’t be able to renew it, Arnold said.
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Republic to merge with Delek Capital
In early August, Dallas-based property/casualty insurer, Republic Companies Group Inc., reported a merger agreement under which a subsidiary of Delek Capital Ltd. would acquire all of the outstanding shares of Republic’s common stock for $20.40 per share in cash. The closing price of Republic’s common stock was $15.22 per share on Aug. 3, 2006. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.
Delek Capital is a subsidiary of Delek Group Ltd., a conglomerate domiciled and publicly traded in Israel with interests in energy, infrastructure, communications, real estate, financial services and automotive businesses.
The business will continue to operate under the Republic name, and its headquarters will remain in Dallas, Texas. Parker Rush and his senior management team will continue to serve with the company following the completion of the acquisition. Rush said the merger would enhance Republic’s “growth opportunities, both geographically and on a product basis.”
Source: Republic Companies Group