LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 30, 2014) − The Cumberland Valley District Health Department in conjunction with the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy (KCSP) at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, recognized the city of Manchester, Ky., on the second anniversary of its comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinance. The second anniversary coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s first report on the health effects of smoking and tobacco use.
Manchester is a role model and local leader in taking bold action to end the smoking epidemic in Kentucky.
“Smoke-free is good for our people and no one is talking about it anymore,” said Manchester Mayor George Saylor, who also recognized other southeastern Kentucky communities for their 100 percent smoke-free laws, including Somerset, Corbin, London, Prestonsburg and Williamsburg.
More than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking since the first Surgeon General Report on Smoking and Health in 1964. Of these deaths, 2.5 million were non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS). Any level of exposure to SHS can cause both short-term and long-term bodily damage. SHS can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.
“Smoke-free policies do triple duty because they protect workers from SHS, help smokers quit, and reduce the number of youth who start smoking,” said Carol Riker, associate professor in the UK College of Nursing and faculty associate at KCSP. “Kentucky has a golden opportunity to follow Manchester’s lead. Smoking could drop by as much as 32 percent if the General Assembly enacts a comprehensive statewide smoke-free workplace law.”
In addition to the anniversary celebration, Hilarie Bratset, KCSP Air Quality Coordinator, announced the results of the Cumberland Valley District Health Department’s Indoor Air Quality Testing and its health implications for the area. On average, indoor air pollution in the District’s five counties was 86 µg/m3, or 2.5 times higher than the outdoor air standard. The air quality study was conducted by the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy in partnership with trained researchers from the local communities. This is the first air quality study in the five counties of Bell, Clay, Harlan, Jackson, and Rockcastle.
“When the Washington Post dubbed our city ‘Unhealthy Manchester,’ we went to work,” said Health Department Director Lynnett Renner. “Cumberland Valley District Health Department and ‘Healthy Clay,” a grassroots initiative, championed smoke-free as one of its first initiatives. Today we celebrate our second anniversary of smoke-free Manchester.”
Local business owner, Theresa Chambers, said, “My restaurant was smoke-free from the beginning, and it’s wonderful that all restaurants in Manchester are now smoke-free.”