Tobacco Ban On State Property Begins November 20



Kentucky ends the use of all tobacco products and e-cigarettes on executive branch state property, effective Nov. 20 – the day of the Great American Smokeout.

Pointing to Kentucky’s high rankings in smoking and cancer deaths, Governor Steve Beshear announced the tobacco-free policy Sept. 4.

Kentucky has the highest rate among all states of adult smokers and the sixth-highest rate of youth smoking.

Kentucky also leads the nation in cancer deaths. One of the primary goals of the Governor Beshear’s kyhealthnow initiative is to reduce Kentucky’s smoking rates by 10 percent by 2019.

“I am committed to reducing the exposure to unnecessary health risks in the workplace and taking the steps needed to improve the quality of life for all Kentucky citizens,” said Gov. Beshear. “Smoking and breathing secondhand smoke causes disease and there is no level of exposure to secondhand smoke that is considered safe.”

Kentucky is the fifth state to institute such a policy.

As the largest single employer in Kentucky, the state’s tobacco-free policy will affect approximately 33,000 state workers, as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors to state offices and properties.

All executive branch buildings are currently smoke-free inside.

The Governor’s executive order transitions that policy to include all tobacco products and executive branch state property.

This means no cigarettes, tobacco products, or e-cigarettes may be used in state-owned or leased buildings, in state-owned vehicles, or on state property.

All state office buildings, parking lots, sidewalks, and green space on state grounds are included in the ban. Tobacco users will have to leave the property to smoke or use other tobacco products.

An implementation period was set aside for state government agencies, guided by the Personnel Cabinet and Finance and Administration Cabinet, to ready the workforce before the Nov. 20 effective date.

“Nearly 5,000 executive branch workers report they use tobacco, and their health care costs average 20 percent higher than those who do not report tobacco use,” said Tim Longmeyer, Personnel Cabinet secretary and chairman of the Kentucky Group Health Insurance Board.  “As a former smoker, I know it is tough to quit and that the tremendous benefits of quitting are not readily apparent to a person going through nicotine withdrawal. That’s why our priority has been to make sure employees know where to turn if they, or someone they know, would like help quitting.”

The Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan, managed at the Personnel Cabinet, offers many tobacco-free resources to nearly 170,000 Kentucky teachers, state employees and retirees.

Programs available to health plan members include a personal health coach, cessation classes, nicotine replacement therapies and incentives for getting healthier. These and many other resources, including Kentucky’s own quit line – 1-800-QuitNow – can be found on the website.

As the policy applies to nearly 2,888 state-owned buildings and more than 26.4 million square feet, the Finance and Administration Cabinet has been working to mark the tobacco-free zones.

Temporary signs have been posted throughout the implementation period. Permanent building stickers, as well as tobacco-free signs, are placed at the driveway entrances of major executive branch buildings declaring the property tobacco-free.

Key building maps have also been provided to show property lines.

Several properties initially received a partial exemption to the policy:

  • State Parks, the Kentucky Horse Park, Kentucky State Fairgrounds, Bluegrass Station, wildlife management areas, state rest areas, Military Affairs training centers and armories
    These facilities were smoke-free indoors and under the new policy, become tobacco-free indoors. Visitors and staff will continue to be able to use tobacco on the outdoor grounds. The outdoor areas of armories managed or operated by the Department of Military Affairs are exempt from this order only during those time periods when the facilities are rented by third parties.
  • Certain state residential health facilities
    Residential facilities run by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), as well as residents at the state’s three veteran’s centers, are tobacco-free under the new policy. However, the Secretary of CHFS and the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs will be given the authority and flexibility to put in place tobacco-free plans that take into consideration the special needs of existing residents. A fourth veterans center under construction in Radcliff is scheduled to open in 2015 as a tobacco-free campus, both indoors and outdoors. Residents or their families should inquire with facility administrators for further information.

During the implementation period, additional properties were granted limited exemptions: 

  • The Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center and Charles McDowell Rehabilitation Center, residential facilities

These facilities, operated under the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet will eventually go tobacco-free. However, the secretary of that cabinet will be given the authority and flexibility to put in place tobacco-free plans that take into consideration the special needs of the residents and special considerations of the locations.

  • The Kentucky International Convention Center

Visitors and staff will continue to be able to use tobacco and e-cigarettes on the outdoor grounds.

  • The Frankfort Convention Center and Fountain Place Shoppes

Visitors and staff will continue to be able to use tobacco and e-cigarettes on the outdoor grounds. This includes the parking garage under the Capital Plaza Hotel and the parking garage under the YMCA.

  • The Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, the Kentucky Military History Museum and the Old State Capitol

Under the new policy, these locations will go tobacco-free indoors, but allow tobacco usage outdoors when the facilities are being rented by a third party that is not a state agency.

  • The FFA Leadership Development Center

Housed under the Kentucky Department of Education, the facility will not allow the use of tobacco indoors or outdoors by students or staff at any time.  However, when the facility is being rented by a third party, tobacco use will be allowed outdoors (except by students or staff).

 “Under Governor Beshear’s leadership the executive branch is steering the way,” said Longmeyer. “I hope others are inspired to join us in protecting and improving the quality of life for more Kentuckians.”

More information about the policy, as well as links to resources for quitting tobacco, is available at

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