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The study found that people who live in communities with comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws are 22 percent less likely to be hospitalized for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or emphysema. Living in a community with an established law also resulted in a 21 percent lower likelihood of experiencing hospitalization due to emphysema.
Kentucky has the nation's highest rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 9.3 percent of the population, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco use is the primary cause of emphysema, but air pollution and genetics can also play a role.
The study matched 2003 and 2001 data on hospital discharges with communities that were part of the Smoke-free Ordinance database from the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy, Ann Blackford reports for UKnow.
|Dr. Ellen Hahn (Herald-Leader photo by Matt Goins)|
Lexington was the first Kentucky city to pass a smoking ban. "Lexington's smoking ordinance, which bans smoking in most indoor public spaces, doesn't specify that smokers be caught in the act. But that has become the default standard since the ban went into effect 10 years ago," Mary Meehan reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. "As the smoking ban in Lexington has aged, the challenges have lessened. In many cases, Hahn said, the ban has been self-enforcing. Patrons at restaurants complain to management about smokers, or bar employees take it upon themselves to keep people from lighting up. Gradually, she said, smoking just isn't accepted or expected anymore. Non-smoking in most places has become the 'new normal.' There are now only a handful of businesses that receive citations. Most are small bars and strip clubs."