Kentucky received straight Fs on the 2014 “State of Tobacco Control” report published Wednesday by the American Lung Association. The study looked at four areas including creating a smoke free environment, cigarette taxes, insurance coverage for cessation programs and tobacco prevention.
Ellen Kershaw with the American Lung Association – Kentucky says tobacco education programs that have had success across the country have been underfunded by state lawmakers in Frankfort.
“Media campaigns, in-school programs, county health education and outreach. Across the board, there’s so much more that Kentucky can do,” said Kershaw.
The study found that 28 percent of Kentuckians smoke and nearly a quarter of the state’s high school students are tobacco users. Kershaw says the American Lung Association also supports a higher cigarette tax in Kentucky.
“That’s another effective tool, that unfortunately, hasn’t been implemented yet here in Kentucky,” said Kershaw. “We would definitely advocate for at least a dollar increase in the cigarette tax as a way to encourage kids not to pick up the habit and also for people to quit smoking.”
The Bullitt County Fiscal Court is giving its approval to a plan that would bar smoking on county-owned property. Still unsolved, however, is a lawsuit against the county Board of Health over a regulation it passed in 2011 that outlaws smoking in all public places, including bars and restaurants.
According to the Courier-Journal, Bullitt Fiscal Court and eight cities in the county sued the Board of Health, saying the body doesn’t have the power to enact such rule changes.
That lawsuit is currently before the state Supreme Court.
The ban passed by the county fiscal court Wednesday doesn’t cover all work and public places, only select facilities owned by the county.
Two Kentucky state lawmakers are sponsoring a bill at the General Assembly that would create a statewide smoking ban.
Two Kentucky lawmakers plan to file bills that would create a statewide smoking ban—an idea supported by Governor Steve Beshear.
The smoking ban measures are being championed by a bipartisan duo: Democratic Representative Susan Westrom of Lexington and Republican Senator Julie Denton of Louisville. The lawmakers point out that January marks the 50th anniversary of the first-ever report from the U.S. Surgeon General on smoking and health. That report is credited with helping to change public attitudes on the dangers of smoking.
Several Kentucky towns have passed ordinances that don’t allow smoking at work or public places. But supporters point out that nearly two-thirds of the commonwealth remains uncovered by such a ban.
Opponents say individual businesses should be able to determine whether or not they allow smoking on their premises.
Gov. Beshear voiced his support for a comprehensive ban during his “State of the Commonwealth” address Tuesday.
The director of the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center says electronic cigarettes are “quite harmful”. Dr. Mark Evers was answering questioned posed to him by lawmakers on the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee.
Dr. Evers says current research on e-cigs indicate that they may be “every bit as dangerous” as smoking tobacco. E-cigarettes deliver a vaporized solution that may or may not contain nicotine. Members of the committee say they’re trying to gauge the health impact of e-cigarettes because some local jails provide the devices to inmates at cost.
Part of the funding for the research comes from the 1998 tobacco settlement with 46 states including Kentucky.
Officials in a southern Kentucky city have decided to ban smoking.
The Times-Tribune reports Williamsburg City Council gave final approval on Monday to an ordinance that bans smoking in most public places, including restaurants, bars, pool halls and public areas of hotels and apartment buildings.
Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison said he is a former smoker, but the duty of officials is to "protect everybody."
The ordinance gives employers 30 days to inform workers about the smoking ban.
Brad Rodu says it's time for the public health community to re-think how it looks at the smoking debate in this country. Rodu is head of the Tobacco Harm Reduction effort at the University of Louisville's James Graham Brown Cancer Center. He says for too long the smoking issue has come down to an all-or-nothing wager: smokers are told they either have to give up cigarettes, or keep smoking and die.
A new study indicates that air quality in Bowling Green Hospitality venues has improved since a smoke-free ordinance took effect last spring. The new study, which was funded by the Kentucky Cancer Consortium and the Barren River Area Health Department, found an 83 percent decline in indoor air pollution since the smoke-free ordinance was established.
Ten hospitality venues were monitored in the study, using a device called a TSI Sidepak. That device monitored air quality every sixty seconds in the venues included in the report.