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Editorial: Clearing the Air

Publication Date: 2006-07-13
  • Publication:Cincinnati Post

All the more reason, then, to sit up and take notice of - and to applaud - Gov. Ernie Fletcher's executive order this week banning all indoor smoking at government offices across the commonwealth under his control. (Legislative and judicial offices are exempted.)

The ban - which will take effect Aug. 1 - includes not only such buildings as the Capital Plaza Tower and the State Office Building in Frankfort, but also the common areas of state parks and every prison except the maximum security facility at Eddyville.

At present most state government buildings must provide an inside area where smokers may legally light up. Thus, one might argue that Fletcher's move is largely symbolic - but you'll get an argument from researchers who say it just isn't possible in most buildings to fully protect occupants from second-hand smoke, even if smokers are segregated.

But even if it is essentially just a symbol, it's an important one. For the governor of such a strong tobacco state as Kentucky to get on the bandwagon against second hand smoke in a big way says a lot about where these horses are headed.

The legal foundation for Fletcher's order was laid earlier this year when the Kentucky General Assembly passed a bill giving the executive branch, local governments and universities the clear authority to ban smoking in public buildings under their control.

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