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News Summary

Statewide indoor-smoking rules sound health policy

Publication Date: 2008-11-30
  • Author:Dr. Al Perkins
  • Publication:Lexington Herald-Leader

It is time for our state legislators to take up the issue of secondhand smoke.

Multiple communities have enacted indoor smoke regulations. It is appropriate that, in the beginning, such laws have been community-based. It shows that the people want the regulation; it is not handed down first by the government. Now that communities have spoken, legislators should be compelled to finish the work for all of our citizens.

This is especially true in communities such as Somerset and Pulaski County, where the Pulaski County Medical Society and Smoke-free Pulaski County coalition have been working hard for over a year for a clean-air ordinance. We find that many local politicians and businesses might support the concept, but are hesitant to act for various reasons.

Because of the proximity of Somerset and Burnside, we pursued a county-wide smoke regulation. The Pulaski County Fiscal Court could not be persuaded to even discuss the issue. And we found that our county health department does not have the authority to enact such a regulation, since we are part of a district health department. Our county board did, however, pass a resolution in favor of smoking regulation, as did the city of Somerset...

This is a public health issue, in a state with large public health issues. Our legislature must begin to take seriously these issues; clearly many local officials do not.