Archive for November, 2010

Fact vs. Fear and Fiction

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Have you been keeping up with all of the recent news in Oklahoma regarding restoring local rights so that cities can choose to become smoke-free?  We have!  You can find them on our “news article” tab.

We keep hearing the same old arguments about how this will infringe on the “smoker’s” rights.  How it will be hard and in some cases impossible to enforce.  How it will not allow them to compete with stand-alone bars and casinos.  How for a tobacco retailer, it will be hard for them to enforce because they have stores all over the state and it would be difficult and impossible to manage. 

None of these things are true.  They are based on Big Tobacco lies and feed on fiction and some people’s fear of “losing their rights.” 

Currently musicians and other workers do not have the right to breathe smoke-free air in their workplaces and cities have no rights under current Oklahoma law to become smoke-free.   

FACT:  Voters Want a Smoke-Free Oklahoma

  • 68% of voters believe the rights of customers and employees to breathe clean air is more important than the rights of smokers to smoke and owners to allow smoking.
  • 59% of Oklahomans SUPPORT a smoke-free environment for Oklahoma workers and families.
  • Smoke-free laws will increase business – 18% of those surveyed say they would go out MORE OFTEN if restaurants and bars were smoke-free.
  • 94% of Oklahomans believe secondhand smoke is a health hazard – 59% say it is a “serious” health hazard, 22% say it is a “moderate” health hazard, and 13% say it is a “minor” health hazard.

FACT: Secondhand Smoke is a Major Health Hazard in Oklahoma

  • There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Approximately 700 deaths in Oklahoma each year are attributable to secondhand smoke exposure, about the same number that are caused by motor vehicle accidents.
  • Oklahoma’s “Smoking in Public Places and Indoor Workplaces Act” was broadened in 2003, but it left several broad exemptions or loopholes.
  • These loopholes pose a known public health risk for thousands of Oklahoma workers in these places, including many nonsmokers. All visitors to these places also are subject to harmful exposure.

FACT: Smoke-Free Will Save and Protect Oklahoma Workers

  • Smoke-free policies are the most economic and effective protection from secondhand smoke exposure – separate areas, air cleaning or ventilation does not eliminate exposure.
  • Smoke-free workplace laws immediately and notably improved heart health (including fewer heart attack hospitalizations) particularly in nonsmokers, according to studies in Colorado, Indiana, Montana, New York, Ohio, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Scotland.

FACT: Smoke-Free Will Save Oklahoma Dollars

  • Secondhand smoke exposure imposes economic costs on individuals, businesses and society as a whole through direct and indirect medical costs and productivity losses.
  • New York’s smoke-free air law led to $56 million savings in direct health care costs in 2004.
  • Medical costs and economic losses to nonsmokers suffering from lung cancer or heart disease due to second hand smoke are estimated at nearly $6 billion a year.

Printable Fact Sheets can be found at Smoke-free Oklahoma.com

“Get a Job Someplace Else!”

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Matt Stansberry tells us why he thinks everybody has the right to breathe smoke-free air. from Paula Warlick on Vimeo.

Meet Matt Stansberry.

Matt is a musician in Oklahoma who feels that everybody has the right to breathe smoke-free air.

Matt is also a longtime sufferer of asthma making playing in a smoking venue impossible and not really an option. Somehow his workplace is not protected by the same laws that protect other workers in Oklahoma. We think that is unfair. Do you?

Restoring local rights will create an even playing field for buisnesses that want to do the right thing and better yet, let this musician and father of two have a healthy work environment.

Follow us on facebook and post your story about “why you want Oklahoma smoke-free.”

Sign our statewide petition.

Breathe the Music

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Why Restoring Local Rights = Everybody Being Able to Breathe Smoke-free Air

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

When asked “Why isn’t Oklahoma smoke-free?” “Why isn’t Tulsa or Oklahoma City smoke-free?”  The answer is not a simple one.  Most people don’t know that current Oklahoma law will not allow a city to pass a smoke-free ordinance.  As you sit there and wonder, aren’t Dallas, Austin and other cities across the United States smoke-free?

In Oklahoma, we have the great distinction of being one of only two states (Tennessee is the other) to have the most restrictive and comprehensive preemptive language in the nation.  We have total preemption.  Even if your town/city WANTS to go smoke-free, they can’t.  Unless our Oklahoma State Legislators work towards restoring local rights.

BTW, these preemptive clauses in our state tobacco laws were passed by the Oklahoma State Legislature for the tobacco industry in 1987.  Some of those players are still around the Oklahoma State Capitol trying to make sure that Oklahoma does NOT restore local rights.  (We will talk about them later!)

Local Rights Means Local Debate and Community Change

A powerful change process unfolds as a community debates the issue of secondhand smoke.  68% of Oklahoma voters believe the rights of customers and employees to breathe clean air are more important than the rights of smokers to smoke and owners to allow smoking . (Refrence Poll by SoonerPoll.com in Feb. 2010)

Next Steps and how YOU can help!

Tuesday,November 2, 2010 was election night.  We have many new elected officials that don’t even have smoke-free or restoring local rights on their radar.  Their workplace IS already smoke-free and they think that since most restaurants (the ones without separately ventilated smoking rooms) are smoke-free, their job is done.  But it isn’t.  As musicians, your workplace isn’t smoke-free.

It isn’t limited to just musicians.  Remember there are thousands of other employees out there who continue to work in an environment full of hazardous secondhand smoke, not to mention all of the patrons and music lovers who want to go out and not breathe in all of those carcinogens.

Here are some ways to get started:

  • Sign our statewide petition!
  • Find out who your new, or existing elected officials are.  Even if you didn’t vote for them, that is okay.  They are the ones who will decide to restore local control.  Find a way to introduce yourself to them.  Don’t know who your elected officials are?  Go here to find yours!
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper.
  • Post your story on our facebook fanpage.
  • Contact our campaign at info@breathethemusic.com – we can help you get started!

Together, we CAN get the smoke out of Oklahoma, but it is going to take ALL of us.