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News Summary

Smoking law to be legislative focus for Oklahoma Board of Health

Publication Date: 10/10/2012
  • Author:Jaclyn Cosgrove
  • Publication:NewsOK.com

Oklahoma state law does not allow municipalities the ability to pass smoking ordinances that are more prohibitive than state law. The state Board of Health said Tuesday it wants to continue its work to change that.

Giving cities the ability to pass smoking laws stronger than state law will be the state Board of Health's main priority during Oklahoma's next legislative session.

Oklahoma and Tennessee are the only states that restrict cities from passing smoking ordinances stricter than state law, according to the state Health Department.

Dr. R. Murali Krishna, Health Board president, said at Tuesday's board meeting that, through restricting tobacco use, Oklahoma can improve the health of its residents.

“Government cannot legislate health,” Krishna said. “But there are some legislative processes like local control that are more conducive to healthier behaviors.”

Board members agreed that it would be their No. 1 priority to get the law passed. During the last legislative session, House Bill 2267 would have allowed local governments to adopt ordinances to control smoking in public places.

The bill made it through the state House of Representatives, but, once sent to the state Senate, it didn't make it out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee...