Feeling the impact of Oklahoma's new 'no smoking' regulations

Tuesday, September 2nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The new law banning smoking in most public places is in its second day. They knew it was coming, but employees at one business say they have had to kick the habit, at least indoors.

News on 6 reporter Patrina Adger talks to the employees who are not pleased about the new law. “We're not happy about this at all." Restaurant manager Rose Points says the Tulsa Truck Stop formerly known, as Bruce's Truck Stop has always been a smoking environment.

"This is a truck stop what do you expect." She says 53 out of their 54 employees are smokers and so are most of their customers. "All your truck drivers smoke you see very little truck drivers who don't smoke." She says employees were allowed to smoke inside the building, even behind the counter.

"When I wasn't busy, I'd come here to smoke my cigarette, now my ashtrays are gone, the cigarettes is still there." Melody Framel says it didn't seem to bother customers, since most of them walked in with lit cigarettes. One man did even after reading the sign. "At $5 a package, I'm not throwing it away."

The rules won't go in effect for the truck stop's restaurant until 2006. Customers can still smoke there but the waitresses can't. Some think that's a double standard. “If they're gonna have smoking in there, the waitresses outta be able to smoke, too." Sally Bartlett says she can't even smoke in the break room anymore.

She says going outside will take time away from her customers and money out of her pocket. "When I can't spend time with my customers, I lose money. We can't afford to lose money things are tight enough as it is." But the law stands. All the ashtrays are in storage. And these employees are forced to smoke outdoors.

Points just hope it doesn't hurt business. "When we go to a complete total non smoking- then we'll answer that question.” Under the law, the Tulsa Truck Stop could remain a smoking environment provided all the employees are smokers, there's limited public access and the smoking area had proper ventilation.