ADA — As of March 1, restaurants must either be totally nonsmoking or have separate ventilated smoking rooms to comply with the “Smoking in Public Places and Indoor workplaces Act,” which is the Oklahoma statute Title 63 Section 1-1521. Smoking is prohibited in public places. By this statute, any person who knowingly violates this act is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $100.

Bandana’s Restaurant manager Casey Capers said his business has picked up recently with the newly constructed bar where smokers are fully enclosed in a ventilated room. He has already complied with the law and said he feels the ban is good for his business because many customers don’t like smoke. Capers said although he is a smoker himself, he does not like to smell smoke, “especially if you are eating.” He said he has plans to purchase a new air conditioning system this year to make it even more comfortable for patrons in the restaurant.

John Cox, manager of The Village Restaurant, said he has decided to wait to comply with the state mandated requirements until it is official on March 1. “It is up to the state to take the right to smoke from customers, not me,” he said. “As long as it affects businesses across the board it’s fair.”

Cox said his smoking and non-smoking restaurant customers are about equal except for those that come in for coffee and a cigarette. They is a higher percentage of his business, he said. He said he has decided not to invest in the expensive expansion to accommodate smoking.

According to Oklahoma State Department of Health, secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar, and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers. This mixture contains more than 4,000 substances, more than 40 of which are known to cause cancer and many of which are strong irritants. Exposure to secondhand smoke is sometimes called involuntary smoking, or passive smoking.

Secondhand smoke is a known cause of cancer in humans and also causes heart disease and stroke, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Passive smoking is estimated to cause more than 700 deaths in Oklahoma among nonsmokers each year. It also causes irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Secondhand smoke-also induces irritation of the lungs leads to excess phlegm, coughing, chest discomfort, and reduced lung function.

The restrictions do not apply to bars, rooms where licensed charitable bingo games are being operated (during game operation hours), up to 25 percent of guest rooms at a hotel or other lodging establishment, retail tobacco stores in which no food or beverage is sold or served for consumption on the premises, workplaces with only incidental public access such as home businesses that do not depend on walk-in customers or used for licensed child care, private offices of one or more exclusive smokers, medical research where smoking is integral to research or treatment, and certain facilities operated by Armed Forces of the United States for their exclusive use, and in outdoor seating areas of restaurants within 15 feet of any exterior public doorway or any air intake of a restaurant.

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