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FOR RELEASE: January 30, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Health Officials Announce Web Site on Secondhand Smoke

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has established a Web site to offer resources to employers, workers, policy makers and the general public on the subject of secondhand tobacco smoke.

The site at www.breatheeasyok.com addresses the need for up-to-date and accurate information on related topics including:

  • research findings on the health effects of secondhand tobacco smoke;
  • quotes from internal tobacco company documents on smoking restrictions;
  • how the tobacco industry has worked to mislead the hospitality industry; and
  • current Oklahoma laws on smoking in public places and workplaces.

An estimated 300,000 to 400,000 Oklahomans who work indoors are currently not protected by smoke-free policies on the job. Studies of workers in different settings have shown that workers in restaurants experienced the greatest risk, with secondhand smoke exposure in restaurants being twice as high as in the offices studied. Analyses of death rates by occupation have shown food service workers to have an elevated risk for lung cancer, with the risk almost doubled for waitresses.

Nationwide, an estimated 53,000 nonsmokers die each year as a result of secondhand smoke exposure. An estimated 750 of these preventable premature deaths occur in Oklahoma, comparable to the annual number of traffic fatalities on Oklahoma's roads.

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