Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: April 20, 2010
Sen. Clark Jolley
Voluntary ‘Clean Air in Restaurants
Act’ Wins Senate Approval
On a bipartisan vote of 38 to 8, the full Senate on
Wednesday gave its approval to a voluntary measure aimed at persuading
more Oklahoma restaurants to go smoke-free. State Sen. Clark
Jolley, R-Edmond, and Rep. Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, are authors
of the “Clean Air in Restaurants Act.” Jolley explained
the goal of House Bill 2774 is to provide restaurants with financial
incentives to go completely smoke-free by 2012.
In 2003 Oklahoma enacted a law declaring that by 2005, restaurants
either had to go completely smoke-free or create separate smoking
areas. Efforts to make all restaurants nonsmoking have been opposed
because many restaurants had already invested funds in smoking areas
as part of the 2003 law. Jolley explained HB 2774 is strictly voluntary.
“Under this measure, restaurants that currently have smoking
areas and choose to go completely nonsmoking by the end of 2012
would receive a rebate from the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation
Fund to cover part of that cost,” Jolley said. “The
end result is that with the restaurants’ help, we can dramatically
reduce secondhand smoke in Oklahoma, and thus improve the health
of our citizens.”
According to the American Lung Association, secondhand smoke causes
approximately 3,400 deaths from lung cancer and 22,700 to 69,600
deaths from heart disease each year. Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand
smoke at work are at increased risk for adverse health effects.
Levels of secondhand smoke in restaurants and bars were found to
be two to five times higher than in homes with smokers and two to
six times higher than in office workplaces. Workplace productivity
was increased and absenteeism was decreased among former smokers
compared with current smokers.
“In addition, in restaurants that have already chosen to go
smoke-free, they actually saw profits increase,” Jolley said.
“It creates a healthier environment for customers, for employees
and its better for our economy.”
Jolley said HB 2774 now returns to the House for a final look, then
should be sent on to Governor Brad Henry for his approval.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Jolley: (405) 521-5622