It was 50 years ago this month that the first U.S. Surgeon General's report on smoking and health was issued. To mark the occasion, two lawmakers are pushing to make the Commonwealth smoke-free.
On Wednesday, Rep. Susan Westrom (D-Lexington) and Sen. Julie Denton (R-Louisville) announced their plans to file bills creating a smoke-free law in Kentucky.
Just over a third of Kentuckians live in an area with a smoke-free law. Westrom and Denton want those laws to cover the rest of the state in an effort to protect everyone from secondhand smoke at work and in public spaces.
If passed, the law would ban smoking in enclosed public places and places of work, including restaurants and bars.
“It’s not just an annoyance, it’s a known cause of premature death and disease in non-smokers,” Westrom said. “Smoke-free policies are an easy way to solve a serious public health problem, they are good for business, and they are very popular with Kentucky voters.”
Governor Steve Beshear has voiced his support for the proposal. In Tuesday's State of the Commonwealth address, he said "we must fill in the map and protect all our people.”
Rep. Westrom says if the bill is passed, the ban would begin in July.