Oklahoma House approves tough new anti-smoking measures, bill now headed to Governor's desk

Thursday, May 29th 2003, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

In a surprise about-face, the Oklahoma House has voted to ban smoking in many public places.

Representatives voted for the anti-smoking legislation 51 to 43 Thursday afternoon. Earlier Thursday, lawmakers rejected the measure, but a motion to reconsider kept the bill alive. It's a victory for health officials and anti-smoking advocates.

The measure would make it a misdemeanor to light up in the workplace or most other public indoor venues. The penalty would be a fine from $10 to $100. But smokers won't have to stub out their cigarettes in restaurants just yet. Restrictions on smoking in restaurants don't go into effect until 2006. And there are exceptions. Bars and private offices occupied exclusively by smokers.

The State Senate already passed the anti-smoking measure. Now it's heading for the governor's desk.

The legislation would give restaurants until March 2006 to either go smoke-free or construct an enclosed and separately ventilated smoking room.

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