Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oklahomans want major changes to smoking laws

Oklahoma City, OK (March 23, 2010)-Oklahomans say they want tougher smoke free laws that protect them from the dangers of secondhand smoke, says a new poll that was released today. The poll was commissioned by a coalition of Oklahoma’s leading health advocates and conducted by Bill Shapard of SoonerPoll.com.

The poll was completed in late February and surveyed 1,000 likely voters registered in Oklahoma. It found that an overwhelming majority, 94% of Oklahoma voters believe secondhand smoke is a health hazard, with 62.4% believing it is a serious health hazard.

71% of Oklahomans favor eliminating all indoor smoking in public places, with 56% of respondents saying that they strongly favor a statewide smoke free law.

When it comes to the business aspect of eliminating secondhand smoke hazards, 70.1 % of Oklahoma voters strongly believe the rights of customers and employees to breathe clean air in restaurants and bars is more important than the rights of smokers to smoke inside and owners to allow smoking inside restaurants and bars.

73.6% of Oklahomans will still go out as often if smoke free legislation is passed, and even 71.6% of smokers will still go out to bars and restaurants as often, if Oklahoma goes smoke free.

Nearly 20% of respondents said they would go out more often if a smoke free law were passed.

“We’re here today to tell lawmakers that voters are sending them a clear message, we want a Smoke Free Oklahoma,” said Marilyn Davidson, Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association, at a press conference held at the State Capitol.

Secondhand smoke has proven to increase risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, and many respiratory illnesses. 29 other states have adopted comprehensive smoking laws and taken steps to protect their workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Smoke Free Oklahoma is working with lawmakers to make Oklahoma the 30th state to adopt a similar law.

“As you can see from the polling, Oklahomans know the dangers of second hand smoke and are ready to make Oklahoma a healthier state by making it the 30th state to go smoke free,” said Davidson.



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