Health advocates are targeting 2013 as the year to convince state lawmakers to approve a comprehensive statewide smoking ban. Lexington state representative Susan Westrom says she will file the bill for a third time. Her attempt in the 2012 session made it out of committee but died without a vote on the House floor.
"We're going to have a full court press this year,” Westrom, D-Lexington, said about the attempt to get smoke-free legislation passed during the 2013 General Assembly session.
She says convincing lawmakers that prohibiting smoking in public places and work places (including bars and restaurants) doesn’t taking businesses rights away is the main challenge. She says lawmakers should be willing to protect the public’s health.
The Kentucky Smoke-Free coalition, made up of 240 health, business and community groups, is sending a van on a six day trip across the state, ending in Fancy Farm, at the annual political picnic in the tiny western Kentucky town Saturday as a lobbying effort.
Lexington was the first city to place a smoking ban on the books. 22 communities now have comprehensive smoke-free laws while 12 others have less restrictive rules. The bans cover 34 percent of Kentucky’s population. 23 states have statewide comprehensive bans.