3 Reasons Oklahoma Needs a Comprehensive Smokefree Policy
In Oklahoma, exposure to secondhand smoke continues to be a serious health problem. One significant reason is that Oklahoma has not passed a comprehensive smokefree policy.
A comprehensive smokefree policy prohibits smoking in worksites, restaurants and bars — the three primary sources of secondhand smoke exposure for nonsmokers. So far, over half of the nation – including New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas – has comprehensive smokefree policies on the books, and they’re already seeing the benefits. In Texas, 67 municipalities have passed 100% smokefree policies including Dallas, Houston and Austin. Oklahoma has yet to take a stand.
Here are 3 reasons Oklahoma needs a comprehensive smokefree policy.
1. Our current “solutions” aren’t enough.
Fancy ventilation systems don’t protect people from the dangers of secondhand smoke. A 2006 report by the Surgeon General states that ventilation cannot eliminate the health dangers posed by secondhand smoke. While they may be successful in reducing the level of visible smoke in the air, this reduction doesn’t eliminate hazardous toxins and gases found in secondhand smoke.
2. The less exposure to secondhand smoke, the better.
No amount of secondhand smoke is safe. In the same report, the Surgeon General states that completely eliminating smoking indoors is the only way to protect people. Even 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart damage similar to that of an everyday smoker. Long-term exposure can lead to COPD, heart disease and cancer.
3. Oklahoma businesses can benefit.
Currently, smoking costs Oklahoma businesses $5,816 per smoking employee. With a tobacco-free workplace, businesses can create a healthier workforce, reduce healthcare costs, prevent absenteeism, increase productivity and improve morale. Businesses can learn more about the cost of smoking here.
So, what can you do about it? More than you think. Let your voice be heard.
Click above to show your support for comprehensive smokefree policies and sign up for email updates on Oklahoma tobacco control. Together, we can take action to improve our state.