Tobacco Use Now Banned on State Property

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WDRB | STEPHAN JOHNSON | NOVEMBER 20, 2014

Tobacco and e-cigarettes are now banned on most of Kentucky’s state properties.

The ban took effect on Thursday, Nov. 20 — the same day as the Great American Smokeout. Gov. Steve Beshear says Kentucky’s high rate of smoking and cancer deaths prompted the ban.

The tobacco-free policy extends to about 33,000 state workers and visitors to state offices and properties.

State employees are also prohibited from using tobacco or e-cigarettes in state-owned vehicles.

The governor says it’s about saving lives, but the smokers we talked to are not happy about this.

Daisy White said, “I think it’s all wrong.”

“Not too happy about it,” said Brandon Barker, who is a smoker.

“I just think it’s not right,” said Ryan Reid, who is a tobacco user.

Smokers are clearing the air about the new ban on tobacco products on executive branch state properties.

“They want to tell us what we can and cannot do and that shouldn’t be right; this is a free country and we want to smoke, we should be allowed to smoke, if that’s what we want,” said Daisy White, smoker.

White is pretty vocal in her opposition to the ban.

WDRB asked, “You just want to be able to smoke closer to the building?” White replied, “Right, I would like to be able to smoke closer to the building.”

The ban means no cigarettes or tobacco products can be used in state owned buildings, vehicles or on state property; that includes while inside your own car.

White said, “I paid for that car, they didn’t.”

The signs are posted everywhere so White printed off a map. You could says she is now out standing in the field.

“It shows the area at which you are allowed to smoke in. You’ve got this line here, this turquoise line, where we are standing now is right over in here,” said White.

State officials say the ban is about health and trying to save lives.

“Kentucky has a legacy of tobacco and our health statistics show that we’ve been at or near the bottom when it comes to our overall health status,” said Stephanie Mayfield, Commissioner for Public Health.

“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.

Some facilities have been granted limited or partial exemptions.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System will enforce the same ban on January 1 for all staff and visitors. Smoking cessation classes will be offered to System Office employees Jan. 15 through

Several KCTCS colleges already are tobacco-free and the others will become tobacco-free in 2015.

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