OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma State Department of Health is paying restaurants to go smoke free. The "Restaurant Smoking Room Rebate Program" hopes to boost Oklahoma health and reduce the number of restaurants that have smoking rooms.
The rebate program's goal is to reduce exposure of restaurant employees and customers to secondhand smoke.
"Studies show even brief exposures to secondhand smoke, less than the time spent by diners in restaurant smoking rooms, can be harmful to health," OSDH said in a news release.
"We are pleased to offer this rebate program because we recognize many restaurant owners wanted to do the right thing to improve the health of their employees and customers, but needed assistance in making the conversion to be completely smoke free," said State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline.
"It's a win-win for everyone and a tremendous boost in helping improve the health of all Oklahomans."
Restaurant owners can apply for a rebate of 50 percent of the capitalized expenditures for some smoking room construction costs, minus any depreciation taken from the expenditures.
To be eligible for a rebate, the smoking room must have been built after June 6, 2003, and before November 1, 2010. The restaurant must be smoke free prior to the time of receiving the rebate, but no later than January 1, 2013.
Applications and information packets for this limited-time program are now available at http://www.ok.gov/breatheeasyok/ under the "Smokefree Restaurants" tab or by visiting http://www.ok.gov/health/.
Further information is also available by calling the OSDH at 405-271-3619, or 1-800-522-0203, emailing TUPS@health.ok.gov.