Oklahoma, where more than 26 percent of adults currently smoke, has one of the highest smoking rates in the country, and tobacco-related illnesses kill about 6,000 Oklahomans every year, according to Secretary of Health Terry Cline.
A group supporting the initiative called Smoke-Free Oklahoma, headed by Bob Wright of the American Lung Association, will be working with the governor to develop the ballot language and a timeline for when the signature gathering effort will start. Wright acknowledged that a campaign to get the measure approved by voters likely will face fierce resistance from a well-financed tobacco industry.
"I don't think they're just going to roll over," Wright said. "I think probably the primary thing we need to look at is the strength of the people, and from that and through this proposal that the governor has put together, we hope to override that portion of money."
Sean Murphy can be reached at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy