On Thursday night, the Blair City Council took a proactive stance by passing ordinances mirroring the Oklahoma State Statutes § Title 37, Prevention of Youth Access to Tobacco Act and § Title 21, Smoking in Public Places and Indoor Workplaces.
“Both of these issues are critical to Jackson County. Our goals of our committee are to reduce health hazards from the exposure of secondhand smoke and to prevent youth initiation to tobacco use,” said JCTEC committee member Brandie O’Connor. “We want to thank the leaders of the Blair community for passing these ordinances.”
Most adults, including those who use tobacco products, admit that they do not want their children using tobacco products.
The tobacco industry spends $245.8 million in Oklahoma each year marketing its addictive deadly products to Oklahomans. Tobacco companies put sugar and flavorings in tobacco to make it taste better to teens.
Over 5,300 youth under the age of 18 become new daily smokers in Oklahoma each year. They purchase or smoke 10.8 million packs of cigarettes each year.
The Blair city ordinance, Prevention of Youth Access to Tobacco, will enable local police officers to fine local retailers who sell to youth up to $100 for the first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $300 for a third & fourth offense.
In addition to the fine, the store’s license to sell tobacco products may be suspended for a period not exceeding 60 days.
In March 2003, the final provisions of the Oklahoma Statute, § Title 21, Smoking in Public Places and Indoor Workplaces, were enacted prohibiting smoking in restaurants unless there is a separate enclosed, ventilated room. This state statute also prohibits smoking in indoor work places.
750 Oklahomans die each year from lung cancer due to exposure to secondhand smoke and 216,000 children are exposed to the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke.
Secondhand hand smoke is known to cause SIDS, asthma attacks, bronchial infections, lung cancer, raise levels of bad cholesterol, and cause heart attacks.
The 2006 Surgeon General report stated there is no safe level of secondhand smoke.
Blair City Council representative Larry Paxton, “The Clean Indoor Air Ordinance is not directed at the tobacco user. It is about providing a clean safe environment for everyone. It is not about whether a person uses tobacco, but where tobacco is used.”
The Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand smoke as a known human carcinogen. Violation of the Blair ordinance is a misdemeanor and punishable with a fine not exceeding $100.
In August 2008, Blair Public Schools passed a 24/7 Tobacco Free Property Policy prohibiting all tobacco use on their property. Blair is the first community in Jackson County to pass city ordinances and school policy on tobacco within a 12 month time frame.
For more information regarding these city ordinances, please contact the City of Blair at 580-563-2406.