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Governor Fallin Supports City-Level Smoking Legislature

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LAWTON Okla_ Governor Mary Fallin has started another potential fight in the legislature over smoking bans.

Right now, it's illegal to smoke in most indoor businesses under state law.  However, in the governor's State of the State Address Monday, she said she wanted to change that.

"This year, I am supporting a proposal to restore local control to cities and towns regarding tobacco use in public places," said Governor Fallin.

The legislature considered that proposal last year, but it was killed in the senate. With a larger republican majority this year, the question is ‘Will there be enough support it this time?'" If the law is passed this year, then an ordinance will have to pass in your city for the ban to take place. The city would then determine where you could not smoke, and that could include restaurants, bars and other businesses.

While some people are all about this, others aren't so sure. Shari Skaggs and Celina Barber are mother and daughter, but they have very opposing views when it comes to smoking.

"It is very bad really," Barber said.

"It's also my right to choose you know," Skaggs said.

Skaggs agrees with her mother that there is no room for smoking near children, especially at schools or parks. She wants the freedom to smoke at bars or designated sections at restaurants when the kids aren't around.

Barber said the individual right leads to major health risks.

"They're not going to know it until they get later on in life, like my age, when they come down with something," Barber said.

The City of Lawton passed an ordinance last year to ban smoking in public parks. Director of Parks and Recreation Kim Shahan said kids are very impressionable.

"Children seeing adults smoking will encourage them to think it's something they may want to participate in," Shahan said.

While that is a big deal, there's actually another reason why the city snuffed out smoking in its parks. Shahan said the biggest perk to banning smoking on park property is to help with litter control, though it's proven to be a challenging issue to resolve.

"It still comes down to that personal preference of people wanting to obey the law," Shahan said.

That personal preference has caused a small stir at the parks.

"There's opposition from the citizens to the city regulating this type of ordinance," Shahan said.

We did get Lawton Mayor Fred Fitch's opinion on the subject. He said if the law is approved, he'll work to come up with a plan that's acceptable to the community.  He said he would be willing to get input from the citizens before making a decision.

As of right now, Oklahoma is one of only two states that don't allow cities to pass their own tobacco laws.

 

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