In Oklahoma, they are considering a bill that would allow cities to pass local ordinances banning smoking in bars or restaurants. Right now, Oklahoma has no smoking ban, and local ordinances are not allowed by state law. It also has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation.
Big Tobacco doesn’t have many strongholds left, but Oklahoma is one of them. Big Tobacco is employing a whopping 13 lobbyists in Oklahoma alone to lobby against this one bill, up from nine last year. That’s how much smoking bans freak out Big Tobacco now (because smoking bans do lead to lower smoking rate). I figure 13 lobbyists at $100,000 a pop — that’s $1.3 million they’re spending in Oklahoma alone just to fight a bill that’s relatively weak. Oklahoma may have the weakest smoking control laws of any state.
The bill is expected to be voted on later this month.