Smoking Ban Unpopular in Carter

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JOURNAL-TIMES | LEEANN AKERS | JANUARY 14, 2015

Gov. Steve Beshear called for the passage of a statewide smoking ban in his State of the Commonwealth address last week.

The proposed ban has never passed the House or received a hearing in the Senate and seems to be unpopular in Carter County.

Sen. Robin Webb and Rep. Jill York both say they remain undecided on how they will vote if it comes to the floor but both have a history of following their voters.

The Journal-Times has an online poll which asks readers about their feelings on the measure. At press time, 133 respondents were against a statewide ban while 116 support it.

The overwhelming opinion on social media seems to be against the ban, citing individual rights.

“I believe that is up to the individual,” Brandon Boggs commented in a thread on the Facebook page of the Carter County Citizens For a Better Way. “If a business wants to prohibit smoking they have that right, however, we have the right to support that business or not depending on our personal preferences.”

Some argue that the absence of a ban ignores the rights of non-smokers and employees.

Nicole Candler, a spokesperson for Smoke Free Kentucky, said 24 states and nearly 700 counties and cities, including Ashland and Morehead, have enacted strong indoor smokefree laws covering all workplaces and public spaces, including restaurants and bars.

“Kentucky leads the nation in smoking and in lung cancer,” Candler said. “We are ranked at the top of most chronic disease categories, many caused or worsened by smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. Smoking costs our state $1.92 billion a year in health care costs, $589.8 million of that in Medicaid costs alone. It also costs Kentucky $2.70 billion in lost productivity. Kentucky spends at least $100 million per year in costs just related to secondhand smoke exposure.”

Ultimately, legislators will vote on the measure if it comes to the floor during the short session.

Read the article online.