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Governor continues push for statewide smoking ban

Publication Date: 2013-02-14
  • Publication:Lexington Herald Leader

Gov. Steve Beshear continued his push Thursday for a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and other public places, calling on lawmakers to take action without delay.

"I predict to you that years from now people will be wondering why we waited so long," Beshear said during a Capitol rally supporting legislation intended to protect Kentuckians from secondhand smoke.

The bill is being hotly debated in Kentucky, one of the nation's top tobacco-producing states.

The House Health and Welfare Committee voted last week to approve the measure, which is now awaiting a vote on the House floor.

The governor pressed for the smoking ban during his annual State of the Commonwealth speech to a joint session of the legislature last week, saying the 25 percent of Kentuckians who smoke could still light up if the measure passes, just not in places where they would expose others to their smoke.

Beshear said three dozen cities and counties in Kentucky already have smoking bans. That includes large cities like Lexington and Louisville as well as small towns like Beattyville and Manchester.

"More than a third of Kentuckians live in communities with comprehensive protections for their people and their workers, and almost half of Kentuckians live in areas with at least some protection," he said. "It's time to create this protection statewide..."

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