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Oklahoma legislators will consider giving cities power to ban smoking

Publication Date: 2010-11-26
  • Author:JOHN ESTUS
  • Publication:Newsok.com

Oklahoma legislators will consider a bill next year that would repeal laws that prevent cities from enacting tougher smoking regulations than the state. Passing the bill would pave the way for cities to ban smoking in public places, such as bars.

Local governments in Oklahoma soon could have the power to ban smoking in public places under a plan legislators and health groups will announce Monday.

The plan calls for the repeal of state laws preventing cities and towns from enacting tobacco use restrictions stricter than the state’s.

Oklahoma is one of only two states with these so-called pre-emption laws.

House Speaker-elect Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, said he plans to file legislation allowing cities to decide whether to ban smoking in public places, such as bars.

"I am a proponent of local control," Steele said. "We have a high prevalence of tobacco use in the state of Oklahoma, and it causes many health issues."

Several groups who favor the repeal of pre-emption laws on tobacco restrictions will announce the plan Monday at the Oklahoma Municipal League, which supports the idea.