The Road to a Healthier Oklahoma: Smokefree Cars

Oklahoma has made great strides to reduce smoking and improve overall health. But compared to other states, there’s still room for improvement. For example, nearby states like Arkansas and Louisiana have made it illegal to smoke in cars while children are present.

Oklahoma can do more to protect our kids’ health and prevent youth addiction to tobacco.

Smokefree car policies are intended to protect children from secondhand smoke. While the effects secondhand smoke in cars is toxic to all, it is even more dangerous for children whose lungs and brains are still developing.

Cracking the car windows does not eliminate the risk to children or other passengers from breathing in the harmful, cancer-causing fumes. For children, exposure to secondhand smoke leaves them at greater risk for serious health issues, such as ear infections, lung infections and asthma. Secondhand smoke has also been connected with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Secondhand smoke can also affect children in other harmful ways. In the short term, children exposed to secondhand smoke have more missed school days, which can affect how well they do academically.

The level of secondhand smoke a child is exposed to is directly proportional to the likelihood of the child becoming a smoker as an adolescent or an adult.

Furthermore, youth smokers are more likely to develop severe levels of nicotine addiction compared to adults. That leads to continued tobacco use as they grow older, leading to long-term effects of tobacco addiction. Serious health consequences include heart disease, emphysema or cancer.

Oklahoma by the numbers:

When Oklahoma’s tobacco policies fall behind neighboring states’ and current science, our state becomes less economically competitive in the region due to higher health care costs, sick days and loss of productivity to businesses. This also means fewer job opportunities now and for our children in the future.

Other states are making positive changes to improve and protect the health of their residents. We can’t let Oklahoma fall behind.

As a concerned Oklahoman, you can protect our kids, make our state more economically competitive in the region and show your support for stronger tobacco policies. Click here to find out how.


Published by Tobacco Stops With Me on October 23, 2017