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Report: Northern Kentucky lagging behind in progress toward eliminating workplace smoking

COVINGTON, Ky. — Northern Kentucky lags behind the rest of the Greater Cincinnati region as well as the United States when it comes to progress in decreasing tobacco usage, according to Interact for Health’s 2018 Greater Cincinnati Adult Tobacco Survey, which was released after its  virtual event, “The State of Tobacco Use in Northern Kentucky.”

The report found that although most Northern Kentucky adults dislike secondhand smoke, over half of Northern Kentucky adults report that their workplace allows smoking either indoors, outdoors or both.

Dr. Lynne Saddler

“This report shows that smoking, e-cigarettes and other forms of tobacco use continue to be a serious health threat to residents of Northern Kentucky,” said Dr. Lynne Saddler, district director of health at the Northern Kentucky Health Department, “and those who are low income or live in rural areas are especially impacted by tobacco use.”

NKY Health has worked with organizations and communities to use local strategies that are known to be effective at reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. Such strategies include adopting, implementing, and enforcing a comprehensive smoke-free law in Williamstown and a partial law in Kenton County, advocating and providing assistance for tobacco-free policies for all Northern Kentucky school campuses, increasing access to free nicotine-replacement therapy through the KY Quit Line, and working collaboratively with Covington residents and other key partners to help residents quit smoking in the BUILD Health Challenge.

This report is released at a time when the CDC has indicated that being a current or former cigarette smoker may increase a person’s risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The important data points to the need to reduce tobacco use in Northern Kentucky.

Saddler added, “Clearly this report provides data that NKY Health, our partners and the community can and should use to act together in carrying out strategies that will continue to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke in Northern Kentucky.”

NKY Department of Health