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For Release: July 8, 2010
Contact:  Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
(405) 271-5601

Support Grows Among Smokers for Totally Smokefree Workplaces

Support among Oklahoma smokers for making all indoor workplaces totally smokefree has increased dramatically since 2004, according to a report released today by the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health.

The report found that 61 percent of smokers who work indoors believe all indoor workplaces should be totally smokefree, up from 47.2 percent in 2004. Support among this group for making all restaurants totally smokefree has increased to 45.7 percent, more than doubling from 21.8 percent in 2004.
The report analyzed data from the Adult Tobacco Survey, conducted by the Oklahoma State Department of Health in 2004 and 2008 in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Support for smokefree environments has risen dramatically among workers who smoke,” observed Dr. Laura Beebe, Ph.D., a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology in the College of Public Health at the OU Health Sciences Center. “This is consistent with other data indicating that most Oklahomans who smoke are smoking less and actively trying to quit.”

Current Oklahoma smoking laws, adopted in 2003, permit smoking in several types of indoor workplaces, including stand-alone bars and restaurants with smoking rooms. The State Board of Health has recommended closing these loopholes and protecting all Oklahomans from secondhand tobacco smoke in the workplace. The Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan, released in late 2009, calls for extending state law to eliminate smoking in all indoor public places and workplaces.

A total of 29 states – including Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and North Carolina – have adopted statewide laws requiring all restaurants and bars to be completely smokefree, as have most major cities in Texas and hundreds of cities nationwide.

“Times are changing. Closing the loopholes in our current law would bring tremendous health benefits and broad public support,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline. “Oklahomans should not have to breathe dangerous toxins to do their jobs.”

The full report is available at http://www.ouhsc.edu/otrc


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