Oklahoma law targets second-hand smoke in restaurants
Oklahomans who want the smoke to stay in the kitchen when they go out to eat have reason to rejoice. New legislation signed by Gov. Brad Henry on May 7 offers financial incentives to restaurants to close their smoking rooms and make their establishments completely smoke free.
Henry approved a law in 2003 that banned smoking in restaurants, but the statute allowed an exception for establishments that built designated smoking rooms. “Secondhand smoke is a proven hazard, particularly for children, and the more we can do to reduce it, the better for the overall health of Oklahomans,” Henry said in a statement. “This is pro-health, pro-family legislation that everyone can support.”
The governor noted that state Rep. Kris Steele, a co-sponsor of the new bill, also is working with many of Oklahoma’s tribal nations to prohibit smoking in establishments operated by tribal entities. Officials say the Chickasaw, Choctaw and Cherokee nations have implemented or are in the process of implementing various smoke-free policies.
The new bill, HB 2774, also allows the State Department of Health to establish programs for the voluntary certification of communities and schools that promote wellness and health. Under the bill, schools could obtain an official “healthy school” designation if they voluntarily provide better nutritional services and physical activities than those currently in place. Towns also could become official “healthy communities” if they provide amenities such as walking trails, farmer’s markets, and similar benefits for residents.
Read Henry’s entire statement on the new law.