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January 30, 2013

Sand Springs seeks action by legislature

NORMAN — The Sand Springs City Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution calling on the Oklahoma legislature to grant municipalities the authority to pass local smoke-free ordinances. Sand Springs became the 10th community to pass such a resolution, joining Oklahoma City, Seminole, Tahlequah, Muskogee, Elk City, Hulbert, Prague, Clinton and Cordell.

Current state law prohibits Oklahoma municipalities from passing local smoke-free ordinances to protect workers and patrons from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. 

“Everyone has the right to breathe smoke-free air,” said Pat Marshall, Oklahoma Government Relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “City councils throughout Oklahoma recognize this and want to protect their citizens, but can’t do anything about it until the Oklahoma legislature acts.” 

Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer, and causes an estimated 46,000 heart disease deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States. 

“The science on the harms of secondhand smoke is clear,” Marshall said. “No one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck.”

Oklahoma is one of only 13 states that limit the ability of municipalities to pass local smoke-free ordinances and one of 26 states without a statewide law that requires all workplaces, restaurants and bars to be smoke-free. 

“We commend these local elected officials for doing what they can to protect the residents of and visitors to their fine communities,” Marshall said. “We urge the Oklahoma legislature to listen to these communities and preserve the rights of local governments to enact and enforce local smoke-free laws.”

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