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Smoking laws in Oklahoma City, Tulsa are weak compared to many major U.S. cities

Cities in Oklahoma are limited in what laws they can pass regarding smoking, an issue that was brought up in a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: November 17, 2012

Cornett said if the state law were to change, the best approach would be for city officials in the Oklahoma City metro area to come together to pass similar ordinances. This would ensure that, for example, Oklahoma City, Bethany and Edmond didn't have different laws.

The CDC report outlined 20 cities not covered by either local or state comprehensive smoke-free laws. The CDC considers a smoke-free law to be comprehensive if it prohibits smoking in all indoor areas — private workplaces, restaurants and bars — with no exceptions, according to the report.

Although 14 of the cities have a smoke-free local or state provision in place in some regards, six cities have nothing in place — Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Los Angeles, Fresno, Calif., Virginia Beach, Va., and Atlanta, according to the report.

Smoking is known to harm nearly every organ of the body, according to the CDC. There is no “risk-free” level of contact with secondhand smoke either — even brief exposure can be harmful to health, federal health officials say.

Thursday, board members of the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust passed a resolution urging Oklahoma lawmakers to either repeal the clause in Oklahoma's smoking law that prohibits local governments from adopting smoke-free workplace ordinances or enact a statewide law regarding smoking in workplaces.

Trust executive director Tracey Strader said there's no reason Oklahoma shouldn't pursue stricter smoking laws.

Changing the law isn't about telling people what they can and can't do, she said. It's about considering the rights of nonsmokers, whether that be people who work at or visit places where smoking is allowed, she said.

“People are sick, people are dying, and we know what works to prevent it,” she said.

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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