Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

March 12, 2014

Shouldn’t majority rule mean smoke-free?


March 12, 2014 —     Recent statewide polls show as many as 65 percent of Kentucky voters say they are in favor of outlawing smoking in workplaces and public facilities, including restaurants and bars.

    Two bills have been introduced in this year’s legislative session to make that happen, House Bill 173 and Senate Bill 117.

    Morehead was among the first group of cities to ban smoking in restaurants.     

    Valid scientific research has produced overwhelming evidence that secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard that causes heart disease, lung cancer and other serious illnesses.

    Yet, if most of the people want a smoke-free law and non-smokers deserve to be protected from secondhand smoke, why is it not happening?

    HB 173 has not had a vote on the House floor and SB 117 has been sent to a committee other than Health and Welfare where it can die quietly.

    Speaking of death, the Smoke-Free Kentucky Coalition claims that about 1,000 persons are dying each year from the effects of secondhand smoke in the Bluegrass State.

    To make that point, the coalition displayed memorial wreaths at the State Capitol yesterday which were comprised of 1,000 black roses.

    In our opinion, it’s long past time for Kentucky to join the 24 states that have strong, smoke-free laws that apply to all workplaces, restaurants and bars.

    More than 500 municipalities, large and small, have done the same. National figures show that about half of all Americans have this important health protection.

     Sadly, only about a third of Kentuckians have that same right to breathe clean, smoke-free air.

    Since the only protection some of us have is at the local level, could it be that local officials have more political courage than those we send to represent us in Frankfort?

    Regardless, those 1,000 black roses say we need a smoke-free Kentucky … this year!