Tobacco-Free Local Organizations
Local organizations, secret societies and other clubs throughout Oklahoma can play a valuable role in preventing tobacco use. Rotary clubs, Scout troops and other organizations meet consistently, providing abundant opportunities to educate members on the dangers of tobacco. They can establish tobacco-free and smokefree policies at the places where they gather, and also provide tobacco cessation resources for members trying to quit smoking.
Childcare facilities are especially important among tobacco-free organizations. Many Oklahoma children participate in childcare or afterschool programs, which are tremendously beneficial to a child’s growth and development. These programs provide a healthy environment through nutritious snacks, physical activity opportunities and assistance with schoolwork. Their environments can be even healthier with tobacco-free policies.
Tobacco companies have targeted U.S. military personnel since World War I. For decades, U.S. soldiers received free cigarettes, often as part of their rations.
Tobacco-Free Veteran’s Organizations
Oklahoma smoking laws prohibit smoking at indoor places open to the public. However, several specific places are exempt from this rule. Licensed charitable bingo games allow smoking, but only during the hours of operation for bingo. Until recently, veteran’s organizations were also legally exempt from the smokefree law. However, as of January 1, 2015, veteran’s centers operated by the state must now implement smokefree indoor policies. Resident veterans are still allowed to smoke in designated outdoor smoking areas—but only until January 1, 2018. After this date, all veteran’s centers must be entirely nonsmoking, indoors and out.
This new legislation is tremendously beneficial to these organizations, as tobacco use is very high among the veteran population. The military is a very tobacco-friendly culture, and many service members often smoke to relieve stress or boredom, or to relax or calm down. However, with these new rules and with tobacco cessation resources, free quit coaching and more from the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, veterans can get the support and help they need to quit tobacco for good.