Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Smoke-Free Oklahoma gains positive coverage from the Oklahoman

The campaign to eliminate smoking in all workplaces has received another positive push this morning from Oklahoma's largest newspaper. The Oklahoman Editorial Board published a positive editorial this morning regarding the most recent push from the Oklahoma Municipal League to pass legislation that would allow cities to make the decisions when it comes to smoking in public.

You can read that editorial below. 

Latest anti-smoking push not likely to fail in Legislature
The Oklahoman Editorial

Published: December 1, 2010

The Oklahoma Municipal League asked this week for legislation that would allow cities and towns to set their own smoking bans, and there's little reason to think the effort will get scuttled during the 2011 session. Momentum for this change is strong and has been building for some time.

Health officials citing the dangers of secondhand smoke have long sought to make all restaurants in Oklahoma smoke free, even those that followed the law and invested in ventilation systems allowing for smoking and nonsmoking areas. A poll in March of this year showed 71 percent of Oklahomans favor eliminating all indoor smoking in public places, and more than half favor a statewide smoke-free law. There have at times been efforts to ban smoking in all public places, indoors or out.

Oklahoma is one of two states with pre-emption laws regarding tobacco where state tobacco law supersedes local laws. This means municipalities may not enact anti-smoking laws that are tougher than what's on the books at the state level.

The legislation sought by the Oklahoma Municipal League would change that. It has the backing of House Speaker-designate Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, who has been at the front of other health-related initiatives during his time at the Capitol.

Oklahoma is one of just three states where 25 percent of its residents smoke. This proposed change to state law seeks to reduce that number and leave Tennessee as the lone pre-emption state. Passage would surely do the latter; only time will tell if it would significantly affect the former.



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