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7 in 10 Kentuckians Support Smoke-Free Law

Secondhand smoke caused by smokers in indoor places causes significant health problems for nonsmokers, Interact for Health said in a news release this week. The organization cited ear infections, asthma attacks and respiratory infections in children, and heart disease, lung cancer and stroke in adults, as symptoms and effects.

For the past six years, the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP), sponsored by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, has tracked Kentucky adults’ opinions about a statewide smoke-free law. In 2016, KHIP found the highest level of support for a comprehensive statewide law in Kentucky since the poll began asking this question. More than 7 in 10 Kentucky adults (71 percent) favored such a law. Fewer than 3 in 10 (25 percent) opposed such a law.

A law that provides for smoke-free indoor air in workplaces (private and government), restaurants and bars, is called a comprehensive law. The District of Columbia and 27 states have such laws. Kentucky does not have such a law. "Current local laws protect only 1 in 3 Kentuckians from secondhand-smoke exposure," said Megan Folkerth, Program Officer, Interact for Health.

“These data help us determine the issues Kentucky adults are facing and how to best focus our efforts to serve their needs,” said Dr. O'dell M. Owens, president/CEO of Interact for Health. “These results show that there is strong support for making a change in our laws in Kentucky for the good of all residents."

Support strong across Kentucky

More than 7 in 10 Kentucky adults in the Lexington (82 percent), Louisville (74 percent), and Northern Kentucky (73 percent) areas favored a statewide smoke-free law. Most adults in eastern (69 percent) and western Kentucky (65 percent) also supported a statewide smoke-free law.

Most Democrats, Independents, and Republicans favor law

Majorities of Democrats (76 percent), Independents (72 percent) and Republicans (68 percent) reported support for a statewide smoke-free law.

Support differs by smoking status

More than 8 in 10 Kentucky adults who have never smoked (85 percent) favored a smoke-free law. Seven in 10 former smokers (73 percent) also supported a law. About 4 in 10 current smokers (41 percent) favored a smoke-free law. The 2016 KHIP found that 21 percent of Kentucky adults reported being current smokers.

More information about Kentuckians’ opinions about a statewide smoke-free law, and other topics, is available at www.interactforhealth.org/kentucky-health-issues-poll.

-Staff report