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Kentucky House Passes Statewide Smoke-Free Law

Friday, February 13, 2015

Statement Regarding Kentucky Smoke-free Law

From Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health, Northern Kentucky Health Department:

“We applaud the Kentucky House of Representatives for protecting the health of all Kentuckians with the passage of a statewide, smoke-free law.

There is support for smoke-free laws, both locally and statewide. A poll conducted by the Health Department in the summer of 2014 found that 65 percent of Northern Kentuckians support a smoke-free law. Further, the Kentucky Health Issues Poll shows that nearly seven in ten Kentuckians favor a smoke-free law.

Being exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke can lead to increased risk of heart disease, asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and cancer. Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is believed to be responsible for more than 950 deaths in Kentucky each year.

A smoke-free law can also reduce rates of tobacco-use in Kentucky. Currently, the adult smoking rate is among the highest in the nation, at 26 percent.

Tobacco use has a devastating effect on lives and our economy: Nearly 8,000 Kentuckians die each year because of tobacco-related diseases. Eighty-five percent of all lung cancers are caused by cigarette smoking, and Kentucky leads the nation in lung cancer deaths. Smoking is a major risk factor for the four leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or (COPD). Kentucky spends almost $2 billion per year in health care costs related to tobacco use.

A smoke-free law is good for health and good for business.”

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Media representatives should contact Emily Gresham Wherle at 859.344.5470 or, about any request or information before calling any other Health Department employee. Your calls and requests will be handled expediently with your deadlines in mind. Thank you for your interest and support in educating the community about public health issues.

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For statewide news releases, please visit the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.