Editorial: Smoke-Free Kentucky can Become a Reality

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THE MOREHEAD NEWS | OP-ED | FEBRUARY 20,2015

Since the first, second, third, fourth and fifth times didn’t prove to be charmed for those opposing forced exposure to secondhand smoke in Kentucky, it appears the sixth time has a chance.

House Bill 145, the latest piece of legislation to prohibit indoor smoking in workplaces and public places, passed the Kentucky House of Representatives on Feb. 13 by a vote of 51-46.

That was the first time such a bill has passed in either chamber of the legislature but it remains a long way from becoming law.

The legislation was amended in the House to pick up enough votes to get it passed.

Those changes could leave some workers unprotected but HB 145 is a giant step in the right direction.

One public opinion poll after another has shown that Kentuckians overwhelmingly believe in everyone’s right to breathe smoke-free air.

A companion bill in the Senate, SB 189, also should be passed so that any differences can be worked out in a conference committee.

It is estimated that nearly 1,000 persons in Kentucky die each year from the effects of second-hand.

Nationally, that figure exceeds 41,000 persons whose deaths from heart disease and lung cancer were caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.

Tobacco smoke also has been linked to respiratory and other cardiovascular diseases among adults, infants and children.

New research has found links to sudden infant death syndrome and to an increased risk of stroke.

Many of us know families where non-smokers have died of devastating diseases tied to tobacco smoke.

National rankings, particularly in basketball, seem to be important to Kentuckians.

But we don’t see or hear anyone cheering about Kentucky being among the leaders in smoking-related deaths.

Dozens of communities in Kentucky already have local laws to protect their citizens against secondhand smoke.

Now it’s time for the General Assembly to do the same for all of us.

 

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