Lawmakers aim to weed out smoking in all public places

The Legislature is considering another law that could produce the knockout blow to smoking in public places. For the estimated three out of four Oklahomans who do not smoke, it could be the second lucky strike.

Senate Bill 1875 cleared the Senate Business and Labor Committee on Feb. 25 and is bound for the Senate floor for debate. The bill, authored by Sen. David Myers, R-Ponca City, would snuff out all smoking by Nov. 1 in:
" restaurants,
" bars,
" beer taverns,
" cigar bars and
" small businesses.

A similar law enacted in 2003 exempted bars from the smoking ban but allowed restaurants to serve smokers if they invested in separate areas that shunt tobacco smoke directly to the outdoors. The new law would permit eating establishments to continue this practice until 2013 when they, too, must go smoke-free.

"We went nonsmoking two years ago," said Gail Vines, owner of Flip's Wine Bar & Trattoria. "It's the best thing we ever did. Business took a little downturn at first, but soon picked up. In two years, my business is up 22 percent." "Randall Turk

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