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"No Smoking" Smokers Costing County
City and state leaders say it is time to allow communities greater control over where smoking is allowed. However would any new law be effective? The state already allows city and county government s to ban smoking inside public buildings and on county property. Yet we found out those laws are rarely, if ever, enforced.
If you take a trip to the Oklahoma County courthouse or county offices you will likely have to step over cigarette butts and walk through a cloud of second-hand smoke to get inside. “It’s not good obviously. It's not the image I would like to see portrayed for the county business and the events that go on down here,” said District 3 Commissioner Ray Vaughn. “I don't think it looks very professional and I certainly regret it.”
“I've done everything I can thus far in accordance with the law to restrict it.” Vaughn is referring to policies that prohibit smoking inside the county buildings. The first thing to go was the smoking rooms. Then signs outside boldly proclaim the sidewalks are supposed to be “tobacco free.”
In spite of the county’s efforts, day in and day out smokers sit beneath the no smoking signs to puff away. “The smoke still comes into the building, it comes up and gets in the windows and you can smell it,” Vaughn told Fox 25.
With our cameras rolling we approached smokers, many of whom wore county ID badges, about why they so boldly brandished butts in the no smoking area. We informed smokers they were on a no smoking site and telling them they were committing a misdemeanor punishable by a $10-$100 fine. Maybe it was the information, or maybe it was the big TV camera, but most everyone walked away or put out their cigarettes and went inside.
Most smokers left, many claimed they didn’t know they were sitting beneath ‘no-smoking’ signs. Vaughn says any police officer or deputy has the authority to write tickets for smoking violations, but most do not. “We don't really have any smoking police out there.”
Vaughn says tight budgets have forced most law enforcement officers into more important duties, but he wishes people, especially county employees, would obey the law.
“We cover the cost in its entirety for people to stop smoking and we certainly would like to see people stop smoking,” Vaughn said. “Because it's a terrible waste of human resources and it makes people sick and it makes people who don't smoke sick.”
Posted: Friday, February 22 2013, 10:58 AM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Education board to consider waivers for Moore
May 23, 2013 01:15 GMT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma State Board of Education is expected to consider waivers for public schools in the tornado-ravaged community of Moore.
The State Board of Education meets Thursday in Oklahoma City. It's slated to consider waivers for Moore Public Schools relating to instructional days and filing deadlines for certain reports.
The Central Oklahoma chapter of the American Red Cross is also expected to attend the meeting to discuss storing donated supplies after a monstrous tornado hit Moore Monday and killed 24 people, including 10 children.
Seven of the children were pulled from the rubble of the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore.
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