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For Release: February 14, 2008
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

Health Commissioner Calls for Smokefree Workplaces for All Oklahoma Workers

Dr. Mike Crutcher, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Health and Commissioner of Health, today commended State Sen. David Myers for supporting efforts to make all public places and indoor workplaces entirely smokefree.

Myers is the author of SB 1875, which would repeal smoking exemptions in the state smoking laws, except for private residences and businesses in private residences. Licensed childcare facilities in private residences would continue to be smokefree.

“Every worker in Oklahoma deserves a workplace where he or she can breathe air that is free from tobacco smoke pollution,” said Crutcher. “The changes in this legislation will clearly improve the health of Oklahomans in exempted workplaces, and the public will finally be able to visit all public places covered by these laws without subjecting their health to the adverse effects of secondhand smoke.”

Crutcher continued, “Twenty-seven states have passed smokefree laws that provide more extensive protection for indoor workers than Oklahoma’s laws adopted five years ago, and these laws generally enjoy wide public support, becoming even more popular after they are enacted.”

Stand-alone bars and smoking rooms in restaurants are among the smoking exemptions repealed in the bill.

Crutcher said the Oklahoma State Board of Health has adopted a resolution calling, in part, for a broad repeal of exemptions as provided in SB 1875. “The Board of Health bases its recommendations on health effects, rather than economic effects. Even so, studies indicate that totally smokefree laws have had an economically neutral to positive effect on the hospitality industry,” he noted.

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