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Kentuckians More Supportive of Higher Health Rates For Smokers Than Those Who Are Obese

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More Kentuckians are supportive of higher insurance rates for smokers than for those who are obese, according to a new health poll released today.

The study, conducted by the Foundation for a Health Kentucky, found a majority of non-smokers and former smokers agree higher rates are justifiable for smokers.

The 1500 people surveyed were almost evenly divided on whether to justify higher health insurance rates for smokers. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents could not justify doing so for people who are overweight.

Murray State University psychology professor Sean Rife said people see smoking as an active choice while obesity is more complicated.

“Smoking bans are becoming much more common and people are much more willing to ask people not to smoke," he said.

"So I think that as a society we’ve really come to maybe see some judgment there as being more appropriate, whereas that’s not something we see for people who are overweight. That’s viewed as more of a private issue.”

(The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is part of the partnership for WFPL’s Next Louisville: Community Health project.)