"We have to protect our citizens from secondhand smoke," said Dr. Murali Krishna, president of the Oklahoma State Board of Health.
"Certainly, not every community will adopt new ordinances," said Dr. Tom Flesher, president of the Oklahoma County Medical Society. "But those that want to should be able to do so without the state government prohibiting them from protecting their communities."
Cline said the measure is the single most important bill pending in the Legislature this year to improve the health of Oklahomans.
Information distributed by the Oklahoma State Medical Association indicates that 87,000 children younger than 18 in Oklahoma will ultimately die prematurely due to smoking and that smoking kills more Oklahomans each year than deaths caused by alcohol, illegal drugs, murders, suicides and AIDS combined.
Oklahoma taxpayers pay $1.16 billion annually to treat tobacco-related health care costs, and smoking causes $1.73 billion in lost productivity for Oklahoma businesses each year.
Every Oklahoma household will pay $547 in state and federal taxes this year to pay for tobacco-caused illness under Medicare and Medicaid, according to the OSMA.