LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 8, 2014) — Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order Sept. 4 that soon bans all tobacco products and e-cigarettes from more than 26.4 million square feet of executive branch buildings and grounds on Nov. 20.
All executive-branch buildings are smoke-free inside, but the new ban extends to the use of all tobacco products and e-cigarettes in state-owned or -leased buildings, in state-owned vehicles and on state property.
“Tobacco products have a deadly grip on thousands of Kentuckians. Smoking and tobacco use are the single-biggest causes of preventable illness and death in our state,” Beshear said in a news release. “This policy will protect non-smokers from the effects of secondhand smoke and encourage tobacco users to seek help in quitting.”
Kentucky is only the fifth state to institute such a policy. The release notes that more than 28 percent of adults smoke, leading to 8,000 Kentucky deaths each year from tobacco-related illnesses.
Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said Beshear’s move “sends a clear signal that Kentucky is serious about curbing the negative health consequences of smoking, and committed to improving the health of Kentuckians,” said Zepeda. She noted that polls have shown a clear majority of Kentucky adults favor a statewide smoking ban.
The release from Beshear’s office said expanding tobacco-free policies to more executive-branch property is aimed at helping achieve his kyhealthnow goal of reducing smoking rates by 10 percent by 2019. Beshear supports a statewide smoking ban and encourages all state and local government facilities, public and private school districts, universities, and businesses to consider limiting use of tobacco products on their properties.
Amy Barkley, chair of Smoke-free Kentucky, said in the release, “We are hopeful that this policy will motivate the legislature to pass a comprehensive, statewide, smoke-free law that will protect the rest of Kentucky workers from secondhand smoke exposure in all other indoor workplaces.”
More information about the policy, as well as links to tools to stop tobacco use, are available at http://tobacco-free.ky.gov.
Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.