FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 8, 2013) — The House Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday approved a bill that would ban smoking statewide in all indoor workplaces and public places, including restaurants and bars.
House Bill 190, sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, and Rep. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, now goes to the full House for its consideration. If it becomes law, Kentucky will join the list of 29 other states with statewide smoking bans in enclosed public places.
Workers and the public need more protection from smoking, Westrom said, adding that smoking costs Kentucky employers $3.8 billion a year in lost productivity because of illness and smoking-related problems, Westrom said.
Adams said workers currently exposed to cigarette smoke shouldn’t “have to choose between their paycheck and their health.”
The state’s Medicaid program alone spends nearly $500 million a year on smoking-related illnesses, Westrom said.
HB 190 includes an exception from the ban for smoking rooms in airport or other large public facilities, although smoking would only be allowed in designated freestanding areas with separate ventilation.
A portion of HB 190 would be designated the “Smokefree Kentucky Act” if the bill becomes law.