Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed an executive order Monday that prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes (sometimes referred to as "vaping") on all state-owned and leased properties effective Jan. 1, 2014.
The governor's action comes nearly two years after she signed a similar order banning the use of tobacco products. Lawmakers earlier this year passed legislation making the smoking prohibition permanent.
The new ban on e-cigarettes prohibits their use on all state-owned and leased properties and in state-owned and leased buildings and vehicles.
The governor said the prohibitions on e-cigarettes and the earlier prohibitions on other tobacco products protect the health of employees and people visiting state-owned properties.
Fallin said recent popularity of e-cigarettes and vaping devices are a concern because they are unregulated products and the long-term health impacts are unknown.
"E-cigarettes release vapor that contains chemicals that can impact employees and visitors to state property," she said. "Additionally, many electronic cigarettes look like traditional cigarettes and emit a vapor that looks like smoke. This creates confusion for employees and visitors and presents enforcement challenges for state agencies."
Fallin made the e-cigarette ban effective Jan. 1 to give state employees time to consider taking steps toward tobacco cessation.
"If you're a state employee who smokes or uses e-cigarettes, I encourage you to make quitting your New Year's resolution," said Fallin. "We have resources at your disposal to help you quit."
There are many ways to quit tobacco including using the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, (800) 784-8669 (or (800) QUIT NOW) or OKhelpline.com. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is a free tobacco cessation service that provides quit coaching and nicotine replacement products to any Oklahoman with the desire to quit tobacco use. The helpline is funded by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, the Oklahoma Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Individual agencies will be tasked with enforcing the prohibition on e-cigarettes, as they are with other tobacco products.