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65 Percent of Kentuckians Support a Statewide Smoke-Free Law, Survey Says

Support for a statewide smoking ban is at its highest level in Kentucky since annual polling on the issue began in 2010, according to the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.In fact, 38 percent of Kentucky smokers support a statewide smoke-free law said the Kentucky Health Issues Poll results released Thursday.Among all Kentuckians surveyed, 65 favor a statewide smoking ban—up from 48 percent in 2010.“I think people are really coming to realize that it’s a health issue, and it’s particularly a health issue for workers who may not be able to choose where they work and whether people are blowing smoke at them all day," said Susan Zepeda, president of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.“It’s one thing to say, 'Well, if I don’t want to go into a restaurant where people are smoking I can walk down the road to another restaurant. But if you have to be behind a bar or waiting tables in a restaurant like that all day, you don’t have a choice when it comes to breathing other people’s smoke, and unfortunately, affecting your health.”Kentucky has among the highest smoking rates in the U.S.—24.8 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control.More than two dozen Kentucky cities—including Louisville and Lexington—have some sort of law prohibiting smoking in public buildings, according to the Kentucky Tobacco Policy Research Program at the University of Kentucky.

The most support for a statewide smoke-free law came from Lexington; the least support came from Eastern Kentucky, Zepeda said.The poll surveyed 1,551 Kentucky adults by landline and mobile phone from late October to late November. The main question was: "Would you favor or oppose a state law in Kentucky that would prohibit smoking in most public places, including workplaces, public buildings, offices, restaurants and bars?"Sixty-nine percent of Democrats supported a statewide smoke-free law; 64 percent favor it, the poll said.“So it’s across the board. It is, at this time, not a partisan issue; it’s a health issue," Zepeda said.A third of the respondents were smokers; 84 percent of Kentuckians who never smoked favored a smoke-free law.You can read a summary from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky below:(Image via Shutterstock)

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

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