Oklahoma government officials want to implement a ban on smoking in public places. The plan calls for the cancellation of the state laws precluding cities and towns from adopting a ban on smoking stricter than the state’s.
Oklahoma is one of two states which have pre-emption laws.
“I plan to exhibit legislation permitting cities to determine to ban or not smoking in public places, as for example bars and restaurants. I am a propounder of local control. There is a high smoking rate in Oklahoma, which causes many health problems,” stated House Speaker-elect Kris Steele, R-Shawnee.
Those governmental officials who are in favor of the pre-emption laws on smoking restrictions will announce the plan in some of these days at the Oklahoma Municipal League.
The majority of states have already prohibited smoking in public places, as well as hundreds of cities and towns countrywide.
Smoking costs Oklahoma approximately $3 billion a year and it is the leading cause of preventable death, according to the Smoke Free Oklahoma.
“I am all in favor of individual rights, but here we are talking about the right of local communities to take decisions which they think will be better for of their residents on tobacco policies,” Steele stated.
Antecedent attempts to prohibit smoking statewide have failed.
“Giving cities the opportunity to regulate smoking assures a better chance at adopting a Legislature than a complete smoking ban,” Sen. David Myers, R-Ponca City declared.
At present Oklahoma City Council is supporting attempts to confer cities the powers to regulate smoking. Several years ago Representative Ray Vaughn implemented a ban on smoking in state restaurants and bars unless these establishments have special created smoking rooms. The majority of restaurants and bars were completely smoke-free.
Now, being an Oklahoma County commissioner, Vaughn is standing in favor of cancelling the pre-emption laws.
“These decisions should be made by our local leaders. The time has come where everybody understands the cost of smoking to our society,” Vaughn stated.
“I would oppose the citywide smoking ban. I like to smoke sitting in a bar, because it is my choice. I do not think that someone will like to hearing from politicians, that we can’t do what we like,” said Kody Franklin.
Megan McGuire on the contrary stated that se would go more to restaurants and bars, if smoking wasn’t permitted in them.
“I often come at VZD’s Restaurant & Club, because it isn’t smoky like in many other bars. I do not like when my clothes and hair are smelling like smoke.” McGuire said.