City to implement broad smoking ban

BY Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

An expansive anti-smoking ordinance passed by the Pawhuska City Council on Monday takes aim at electronic vapor devices as well as all tobacco products.

When the ordinance goes into effect in approximately 30 days, it is expected “to have a wide-reaching effect on a lot of people,” said the acting City Attorney, W. Robert Wilson.

Wilson said the new municipal regulations call for business owners to take a pro-active role in the promotion of a “smoke-free and vape-free” environment.

“They (businesses) are going to need to make some changes,” said Wilson.

Passage of the comprehensive, seven-part ordinance represented a victory for the Communities of Excellence Program of the Osage Nation — which led the push for the enhanced regulations — particularly in regard to having e-cigarettes included.

“Pawhuska is the 12th city in the state to pass this type of ordinance,” ON Communities of Excellence representative Electa Red Corn said.

Red Corn presented the city with the regulations that formed the new ordinance several months ago and overcame resistance to avoid the vapor-smoking requirements.

Also appearing for the Osage Nation’s health-promoting agency was Program Director Gail Boe, who was instrumental in getting the council to adopt an ordinance prohibiting smoking on city park properties. At that time, the regulations approved by local council members had exceeded what was requested by the ON representatives.

The ordinance approved Monday (by a 4-0 vote) will further restrict tobacco use and electronic smokers in public areas — including establishments that derive a substantial portion of their revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages. It also expands local restrictions for parks, jogging trails, bicycle paths, etc.

Stated mission of ON Communities of Excellence is “to address the issues causing chronic disease within the Osage people and residents of Osage County. We will accomplish this by educating the citizens in healthy lifestyles and the process of disease prevention through healthy food choices, exercise, and being tobacco-free.”

Responding to an inquiry by attorney Wilson, Red Corn said Communities of Excellence representatives have already met with numerous local business owners to discuss the anti-smoking proposals. The Osage Nation program will continue providing assistance in making business owners aware of the new ordinance, she said.

The ON program will also provide signage and literature explaining the new regulations, Red Corn added.

Wilson, who has previously served in the city-attorney position, is taking the place of current Pawhuska City Attorney Jesse J. Worten III, who will be on a two-month medical leave of absence, according to City Manager McAlexander.