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Another Push for Statewide Smoking Ban as Kentucky Receives Failing Grade on Tobacco Control

Kentucky has once again received a bad grade for lung health from the American Lung Association.“Kentucky received all F’s, again," says Barry Gottschalk of the ALA's Kentucky chapter. "We continue to allow our history to impede our future when it comes to tobacco control. We continue to underfund cessation solutions. We continue to underfund prevention and control strategies. And we continue to keep cigarette taxes low.”The announcement was made today, at the same time that state Representative Susan Westrom of Lexington filed her bill to institute a statewide smoking ban. Westrom’s bill has the support of the lung association and business leaders across the Commonwealth.  Currently only major urban areas like Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green and other urban counties have smoking bans in place.But Westrom wants a statewide ban to help people all over the commonwealth to be safe from second-hand smoke.“Our legislature can do more for the health of more present and future Kentuckians by passing a comprehensive smoking regulation than I did in my 38 years of practice," says Doctor Robert Powell, a member of the coalition supporting Westrom's bill.Not all lawmakers are in favor a statewide smoking ban. Others have yet to form an opinion, they say. Governor Steve Beshear is also on the fence. The governor mentioned reducing smoking in his state of the Commonwealth address, but didn’t could out in full support of a statewide ban.Gottschalk says if the General Assembly passed Westrom’s bill, it would receive an “A” on its next report card.