Kentucky Recognized for Strong Smoke-free Workplace Laws

Posted: September 30, 2019

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 27, 2019)  The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF) has ranked Kentucky third in this year’s ‘smoke-free indoor air challenge.’ Kentucky enacted the third most local smoke-free laws in 2018, behind Texas and Mississippi. The awards were presented at the National Conference on Tobacco or Health in Minneapolis. Winners were determined based on policy surveillance data compiled from the U.S. Tobacco Control Laws Database.

Kentucky was also recognized for its local laws that prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in smoke-free workplaces and public places. “Nonsmokers should not have to breathe the secondhand emissions from electronic smoking devices or any other form of smoking,” said Cynthia Hallett, ANRF President and CEO. “In addition, given the rising epidemic of youth use and the recent spate of pulmonary illnesses and fatalities, policies that reduce exposure and role modeling of e-cigarette use are critical components to strong public health laws.”

”Protecting our ability in Kentucky to take bold local action is essential to reduce the enormous health and economic toll we face,” said Ellen Hahn, PhD, RN, professor and director of BREATHE at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. “Smoke-free laws covering all workplaces with few exceptions act as a vaccine against the deadly chronic diseases that afflict far too many Kentuckians.”

Nearly 9,000 Kentuckians die of illnesses caused by tobacco use each year. Kentucky spends nearly $2 billion per year in smoking-related health care costs. More than 71% of Kentucky adults support a statewide smoke-free law.

Communities with comprehensive smoke-free laws have fewer hospitalizations for emphysema, heart attacks, and asthma, as well as fewer new cases of lung cancer.

Secondhand smoke is a top preventable cause of disease, health costs, and early death. Even a little exposure causes big health risks. Smoking rooms and ventilation systems do not eliminate the health hazards.

In November, University of Kentucky will celebrate the 10th anniversary of becoming completely tobacco-free on campus grounds and parking areas, prohibiting the use of all tobacco products including all forms of electronic cigarettes. As of July 1, 2019, UK was one of the 2,009 tobacco-free campuses in the United States.

Since 1998, ANRF has awarded the smoke free indoor air challenge awards to recognize the important smoke free policy work conducted at the local level.

KTPC and UK BREATHE work in partnership with the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society – Cancer Action Network, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to promote local smoke-free environments.