Greg Stotelmyer Kentucky News Connection
January 8, 2014
LOUISVILLE — A smoke-free law covering all public places in Kentucky is favored by nearly two-thirds of the state’s adults, according to the findings of the new Kentucky Health Issues Poll. Support for a statewide smoking ban has consistently increased since the first poll was conducted in 2010.
According to Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, awareness gets the credit for the growing support.
She said that’s “because people recognize the reality of the health impacts both of smoking yourself and of being in an environment where others are smoking.”
In the new poll, 65 percent of those questioned favored a smoke-free law while 29 percent opposed the idea and six percent did not have an opinion. Four years ago the issue was split evenly at 48 percent both for and against.
The poll comes as lawmakers return to Frankfort to begin their annual session on Tuesday. Zepeda noted that the poll finds bipartisan support for a smoke-free law, with 69 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans in favor of the idea.
“It’s a health issue; it’s not a politics issue,” she declared. “It’s really just holding up a mirror to their constituencies so that they can be informed by those views.”
The poll finds a “clear relationship” between support for a smoking ban and whether an individual smokes. Still, support for the law among smokers has more than doubled since 2010, from 17 percent then to 38 percent now. Zepeda said she sees that as significant.
“We believe this reflects a growing awareness, whether you’re a smoker currently or not, of the health hazards of smoking.”
State Representative Susan Westrom, a Democrat from Lexington, said she again will sponsor a smoke-free bill and expects a companion bill to be filed in the Senate.
Currently 26 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive smoke-free laws, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.