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News Summary

Bill targets smoking ban's exemptions

Publication Date: 2008-02-07
  • Author:ANGEL RIGGS
  • Publication:Tulsa World

The measure would eliminate smoking in all public places.

A bill that would eliminate smoking in all public places, including bars and restaurants, was championed Wednesday by several Oklahoma health organizations and the mother of two Tulsa musicians.

Senate Bill 1875 by Sen. David Myers, R-Ponca City, would eliminate exemptions in current law for smoking in workplaces by phasing out separately ventilated smoking rooms in businesses, including restaurants.

The measure also would apply to stand-alone bars and taverns, although it would not affect casinos. It's unclear whether the bill would apply to cigar bars.

"We're moving a step closer to getting Oklahoma smoke-free," Myers said.

The legislation builds on the state's 2003 law that banned smoking in public places but provided strict guidelines that allowed for separately ventilated smoking sections.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, fewer than 2 percent of businesses built smoking rooms.

"I believe it's time we move forward," Myers said, adding that "27 other states have already taken this step."