3 Tobacco Policies Oklahoma Needs That Other States Already Have
Many nearby states are stepping up their smokefree policies to protect their friends, families and loved ones from the dangers of tobacco use and secondhand smoke.
While Oklahoma continues to make improvements regarding smoking, 70% of states are still ahead of us. Here are the 3 policies we could enact in order to catch up.
1. 100% SMOKEFREE POLICY
A comprehensive smokefree policy prohibits smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars, all major sources of secondhand smoke. The ventilation systems some businesses have installed don’t cut it. Nearby states like New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas have this policy in place and have a lower smoking prevalence to show for it.
2. SMOKEFREE CARS
A smokefree cars policy would make it illegal to smoke in cars while children are present. Secondhand smoke in cars is highly concentrated. Such intense exposure leaves children at great risk for serious health issues like lower respiratory illness, ear infections, asthma, SIDS and cancer.
Plus, when we maintain such a relaxed attitude about smoking, children believe it is acceptable. That leads to experimentation, which — almost always — leads to addiction. Nearby states like Arkansas and Louisiana restricted smoking in cars in 2011. The result? Fewer kids’ lives affected by smoking and protection for kids too young to speak up for their health.
3. SMOKEFREE CLUBS & BARS
Many nearby states like Nebraska, Arizona and Kansas are taking an active role in protecting bar customers and employees from the devastating effects of secondhand smoke. How? They’ve prohibited smoking. Oklahoma is one of the only states that still permits it. Even our cities are restricted with a preemption policy and can’t make local decisions regarding smokefree policies. Cities like Dallas, Austin and Houston have stepped up and are already seeing the benefits.
In confined spaces like bars and clubs, secondhand smoke accumulates, making for a highly toxic environment. While we wait for our policies to catch up, Oklahomans must seek out establishments that voluntarily prohibit smoking.
Let’s be clear: It’s not just about competing with other states. It’s about improving Oklahoma’s overall health. Nearby states are already reaping the benefits of smokefree policies — improving health, their economy and their children’s futures. Oklahoma’s tobacco policies remain out of step and behind the current science. The longer we wait to catch up, the further behind we fall.
What do you think? Do you support stronger tobacco policies in Oklahoma to protect our kids and citizens and improve our economy? Then let your voice be heard. Show your support and sign up to receive email updates on our progress