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

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.

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