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Board of Health backs statewide smoke-free law

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Recognizing the need to protect the public’s health by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, the Northern Kentucky District Board of Health recently signed on as a supporter for Smoke-Free Kentucky.

At its September meeting, the Board unanimously voted to endorse Smoke-Free Kentucky’s efforts to pass a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law that would prohibit smoking in all worksites, including bars and restaurants. Further, the Board authorized Health Department staff to promote Smoke-free Kentucky and its work to other organizations in Northern Kentucky.

“The Surgeon General found that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “The only way to fully protect people from exposure to secondhand smoke is to eliminate smoking in indoor spaces.”

More than 400 organizations and businesses have signed similar resolutions for a smoke-free law, including St. Elizabeth Healthcare, the Northern Kentucky Medical Society and the Three Rivers District Health Department. To date, 32 other health departments or boards of health have indicated that they endorse Smoke-free Kentucky’s work. More than 9,000 individuals, including 6,000 residents of Northern Kentucky, have signed online petitions of support as well.

Other prominent advocates for Smoke-Free Kentucky include the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Commissioner for Public Health Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Haynes and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.

“Everyone in Kentucky has the right to breathe smoke-free air,” said Amy Barkley, Smoke-Free Kentucky Chair. “We look forward to collaborating with the Northern Kentucky District Board of Health as we work to build support in Northern Kentucky for a statewide, smoke-free law.”

To date, 23 Kentucky communities have passed comprehensive smoke-free laws, protecting 34 percent of Kentuckians. In Northern Kentucky, only Kenton County has a smoke-free law, and it contains exemptions for bars and restaurants.

“Kentucky continues to struggle with one of the highest smoking rates in the nation, with 29 percent of adults smoking,” said Saddler. “Historically, comprehensive smoke-free laws have led to a decrease in smoking rates following implementation. The longer a law is in effect, the more likely smokers are to either reduce cigarette consumption or quit. Our Board hopes that a smoke-free law in Kentucky will not only protect residents from exposure to secondhand smoke, but also encourage smokers to quit.”

The 32 member Northern Kentucky District Board of Health oversees the operations and policies of the Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department. Board of Health members represent Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton Counties, and include health professionals such as physicians, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, veterinarians and nurses.

For more information on Smoke-Free Kentucky, please visit For more information about the Health Department’s smoking cessation programs, please visit

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