FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – A state with one of the highest smoking rates in the country is paying farmers to paint anti-smoking messages on old tobacco barns.
The program in Kentucky pays farmers to paint a message advertising a phone number people can call for help quitting smoking. It echoes the advertising campaigns of some tobacco companies, which for decades would pay farmers to paint ads on their barns.
One mural on a barn in western Kentucky is owned by Michiel Vaughn. Vaughn is a former tobacco farmer who says he stopped growing the plant because he saw the harmful health effects of cigarettes.
Kentucky officials got the idea from West Virginia, where the nonprofit organization Community Connections has used state and local grants to pay for murals on 13 barns.