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FOR RELEASE: July 10, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

New Oklahoma Smoke-free Laws Effective September 1 - Toll-Free Information Line and Free Decals Available

State health officials are gearing up to make sure employers, workers, policy makers and the general public have the resources they need to help implement Oklahoma’s new secondhand smoke laws, which become effective September 1.

Legislation signed into law recently by Gov. Henry prohibits smoking in most public places and workplaces. The new laws will improve the health of thousands of Oklahomans by reducing exposure to the harmful toxins found in secondhand tobacco smoke.

Although the new laws allow restaurants an extra 30 months to comply, both health officials and many state leaders have urged restaurants to also go smoke free by September 1.

An Internet Web site, a toll-free information number, and free “Breathe Easy” decals are now available to assist with implementing the new laws. “These resources will help public places and workplaces become familiar with the new laws and help them meet signage required by the new laws by September 1,” said Rocky McElvany, chief of the Consumer Protection Service, Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The full text of Oklahoma’s new smoke-free laws, summary fact sheets and general information on the effects of secondhand tobacco smoke can be obtained by visiting this Web site: www.breatheeasyok.com.

A toll-free number, 1-866-ONLY AIR (1-866-665-9247) is now operational to ask questions or to request that materials be sent by mail. The toll-free line is automated with a recorded message, but callers may leave a telephone number to receive a personal call back.

Free “Breathe Easy” decals are now available for use at all workplaces and public places. The four-inch by two-inch decals can be used at entrances to places that are smoke free to meet all signage requirements of the new laws. The decals are available through local county health departments across the state, or by calling the toll-free number.

All public places and workplaces are strongly encouraged to go smoke free. However, fully enclosed smoking rooms meeting specific ventilation standards and certain other requirements are still allowed in many venues under the law.

“Establishing a 100 percent smoke-free policy is the simplest way to comply with the law while also providing the greatest level of protection for both workers and the public,” McElvany said.

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