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Most Kentucky adults support a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law

Jan 24, 2018

The 2017 Kentucky Health Issues Poll found that 71 percent of Kentucky adults support a comprehensive statewide smokefree
law. This remains the highest level of support since the poll began tracking this topic.

A comprehensive law provides for smoke-free indoor air in workplaces (private and government), restaurants and bars. Kentucky is one of only 13 states without a statewide smoke-free indoor air law.

Support for such a law held steady at 71 percent from 2016. Fewer than 3 in 10 (27 percent) oppose such a law. Northern Kentucky is the same as the rest of the state, with seven in 10 (71%) Northern Kentucky adults who favor a comprehensive law.

The poll, sponsored by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, has measured Kentucky adults’ opinions about a statewide smoke-free law for the past six years. Initially, only 54% of adults supported a comprehensive law while 48% opposed it.

“Surveying residents helps us understand how Kentucky residents feel about smoke-free spaces,” says O'dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H., President/CEO of Interact for Health. “These results show that there is consistent and strong support for making a change in Kentucky laws for the health of all residents."

Kentucky workers still exposed to secondhand smoke

The survey also found that 1 in 3 (32 percent) Kentucky adults working full or part-time outside the home were exposed to tobacco smoke at their workplace in the prior week.

Secondhand smoke from smokers in indoor places causes significant health problems for nonsmokers. These include ear infections, asthma attacks and respiratory infections in children, as well as heart disease, lung cancer and stroke in adults.

"Current laws in Kentucky leave a large number of residents unprotected from tobacco smoke," says Megan Folkerth, Program Officer, Interact for Health. “The strong support for a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law would suggest there is an opportunity to provide that protection.”

Support strong across Kentucky and across party lines. 

Majorities across the state also favor a comprehensive smoke-free law (Western Kentucky, 67 percent; Louisville area, 80 percent; Lexington area, 74 percent and Eastern Kentucky, 70 percent). Likewise, majorities of Democrats (79 percent), Republicans (68 percent) and Independents (62 percent) favor a Kentucky state law prohibiting indoor smoking in workplaces, public buildings, offices, restaurants and bars.

Support differs by smoking status

More than 4 in 10 current smokers (44 percent) favor a smoke-free law. Vast majorities of both former smokers (74 percent) and those who have never smoked (83 percent) favor a smoke-free law. Twenty-three percent of Kentucky adults reported being current smokers, 30 percent reported being former smokers and 47 percent reported having never smoked cigarettes.

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

About the Kentucky Health Issues Poll

The 2017 Kentucky Health Issues Poll is funded by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati conducted KHIP Oct. 24-Dec. 2, 2017 A random sample of 1,692 adults from throughout Kentucky was interviewed by telephone. This included 861 landline interviews and 831 cell phone interviews with cell phone users. In 95 of 100 cases, the statewide estimates will be accurate to ±2.4%. There are other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording or context effects that can introduce error or bias. For more information about the Kentucky Health Issues Poll, please visit www.interactforhealth.org/kentucky-health-issues-poll or www.healthy-ky.org.

About Interact for Health

Interact for Health builds healthy communities for all people. We serve as a catalyst for health and wellness by promoting healthy living through grants, education, research, policy and engagement. Interact for Health is an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. More information is available on our website, www.interactforhealth.org.

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