Governor Mary Fallin has announced plans to put tobacco regulations aimed at reducing secondhand smoke to a vote of the people.
Fallin made the announcement Tuesday during an event hosted by the American Cancer Society. Fallin said she would lead an initiative petition drive on the issue.
"It's time to let voters decide whether or not they want clean air in public places like bars and restaurants," Fallin said. "I believe the answer will be ‘yes.'"
According to health officials, secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and approximately 70 that can cause cancer. It causes an estimated 46,000 heart disease deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States.
"Any plan that seeks to improve health outcomes will have to address tobacco," Fallin said. "Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in Oklahoma, killing 6,000 men and women each year. Hundreds of these people aren't even smokers, and have instead fallen ill as a result of second hand smoke."
The details of the petition have not yet been finalized. However, Fallin announced the creation of a new website, www.DontSmokeOnMe.com, where Oklahomans can sign up to receive more information.