Thursday, December 26, 2013

Weekly paper in Hazard calls for statewide smoking ban

A statewide smoking ban should be a priority for the Kentucky General Assembly when it begins its session Jan. 7, The Hazard Herald said in an editorial during Christmas week.

Noting that the state ranks first in both adult and youth smoking, the weekly newspaper said a ban on smoking in workplaces and enclosed public places would be "a good place to start" on public-policy changes to make Kentucky a healthier state.

"Second-hand smoke is listed as a known human carcinogen by the federal government, and has been linked to lung cancer," the editorial notes. "The American Cancer Society also notes there is evidence linking it to other diseases, such as heart disease and asthma. These are things we know, and yet our state legislature has remained unwilling to issue basic protections to non-smokers in the form of a statewide smoke-free law."

Noting the bans in nearby Prestonsburg and other Kentucky towns and counties, the newspaper said, "Local ordinances are simply not going to solve the problem, because too many local governments will never approve them. We doubt either of the current administrations in Hazard, Vicco, or Perry County would favor a local smoke-free ordinance, despite the obvious benefits one would pose. So, it will be up to our state legislature to tackle this issue and find the political courage to support the right of Kentuckians to breathe clean air." (Read more; click on image below for larger version)

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