Monday, August 17, 2015
OKLAHOMA CITY - As of August 20, 2015, all Oklahoma public and private schools are to be tobacco-free. The new law will also prohibit anyone from using tobacco in school vehicles and at any school-sponsored or school-sanctioned event or activity, including sporting events. House Bill 1685, also known as the 24/7 Tobacco-Free Schools Act, provides around-the-clock protection from the dangers of tobacco use.
“Tobacco products are the leading cause of preventable death in the state of Oklahoma,” said Governor Mary Fallin. “A lot of tobacco users first form the habit by being around other tobacco users, including friends and parents, when they are young. When I was growing up, it wasn’t unusual to see parents – or high school-aged children – smoking or dipping at sporting events and other school functions. This new law pushes tobacco off our school campuses and ensures our children aren’t picking up an unhealthy and potentially deadly habit in the very places that should be helping them develop healthy minds and bodies.”
Each year, approximately 17,900 children in Oklahoma try smoking for the first time. Also each year, approximately 4,200 youths under the age of 18 become everyday smokers. The new law aims to help reduce those numbers by limiting exposure to tobacco. Adolescent tobacco users are more at risk than adults for memory loss, depression, cardiac irregularities and long-term dependence. A tobacco-free environment is an important measure to protect the health of Oklahoma’s youth.
“Our children learn behaviors by watching those around them,” said Dr. Terry Cline, Cabinet secretary of health and human services and Oklahoma State Department of Health commissioner. “The 24/7 Tobacco-Free Schools Act will help prevent Oklahoma’s youth from becoming tobacco’s next victims.”