Bill for Statewide Smoking Ban Dies in General Assembly
Publication Date: 2/28/2013
- Author:Molly Burchett
As the bill for a statewide smoking ban lies on its deathbed in the General Assembly, new federal data show Kentucky still has the highest percentage of smokers (29 percent) of any state, leads the nation in the share of smoking high school students (24 percent) and spends only a miniscule portion of their tobacco revenues to fight tobacco use. Those figures come from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Tobacco Control State Highlights 2012 report. (For county-by-county figures, click here.)
The lack of a statewide smoking ban, which nevertheless has become popular among Kentuckians, represents only a small part of the struggle to address Kentuckians' tobacco use and resulting health problems. Kentucky's program to discourage tobacco use has been severely underfunded for years, contributing to the state's lack of or slow progress in reducing its smoking and tobacco use rates and subsequent health problems, said Dr. Ellen Hahn, director of the Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy at the University of Kentucky.