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FOR RELEASE: November 3, 2000
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Oklahoma's Smoke-Free Workplace Policies Rank Next to Last

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report today that of 17 states and the District of Columbia surveyed regarding adult smoking, Oklahoma ranked next to last, at 64.1 percent, for the proportion of adults who reported a smoke-free workplace. The lowest scoring state participating in the survey was Mississippi, where 61.3 percent of adults reported a smoke-free workplace. The best score went to Washington, D.C., where 82 percent of adult reported a smoke-free workplace, according to the Nov. 3 issue of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

A smoke-free workplace was defined as an indoor work environment that was reported as having an official policy that did not allow smoking in common, public, or work areas. A smoke-free workplace reduces the risk and detrimental health effects of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) by non-smokers.

ETS is a Group A carcinogen that can cause lung cancer and coronary heart disease in non-smoking adults. Documented effects of ETS in children include low birthweight babies; Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) from exposure to tobacco smoke during and after pregnancy; as well as asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

In related news, Oklahoma's reported smoking prevalence among adults is now 25.2 percent, which is above the national median of 22.7 percent. Utah had the lowest prevalence at 13.9 percent and Nevada had the highest at 31.5 percent. Only Utah and Puerto Rico met the national Healthy People 2000 objective of reducing smoking prevalence to less than 15 percent.

For more detailed information, see the Nov. 3 MMWR report entitled “State-Specific Prevalence of Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults and the Proportion of Adults Who Work in a Smoke-free Environment -- United States, 1999” by visiting the Oklahoma State Department of Health's Web site on tobacco use prevention: www.health.state.ok.us/PROGRAM/tobac/adultprev.htm.

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