Smoke-free trend on the rise in state

To the editor:

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.

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.

—Pamela Williams
Oklahoma State Department of Health

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