AHEC Programs Go Smoke-Free



The Southern KY AHEC is showing more support for Kentucky’s smoke-free movement. In addition to expanding our no-smoking zones farther away from the front doors of our conference venues, we have joined the Smoke-Free Kentucky Coalition, whose mission is the completion of comprehensive laws at the local and state level eliminating secondhand smoke in all public and work places, including restaurants and bars.

As most public health and healthcare professionals know, secondhand smoke is a public health hazard. Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke in public places or at work significantly increase their risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory illnesses. Communities in the Southern AHEC area that have passed smoke-free laws include Madison County, and the cities of Danville and London. Smoke-Free
Center Director Dwain Harris participated in a smoke-free Kentucky workshop in September, and he would like to see more of the So. AHEC’s communities go smoke-free.

“Part of the AHEC mission is the promotion of community health,” he said. “The smoke-free initiative presents us with a great opportunity to make a positive change in our communities. When a restaurant or town goes smoke-free, not only is there an immediate health improvement, there’s less acceptance, prevalence and visibility of cigarettes. The result is less advertising for an unhealthy habit, and a better chance that young people will not make the choice to start smoking.”

The So. AHEC will continue to seek ways to add its voice to those in favor of less smoke and better health.