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Poll Shows that Majority of Kentucky Adults Still in Favor of Measures to Curb Smoking in Public

Jan 17, 2019

Kentucky adults continue to support policies that would limit exposure to secondhand smoke by prohibiting smoking in public places, including workplaces, public buildings, offices, restaurants and bars. The 2018 Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) found that about 7 in 10 (66%) favored a statewide smoke-free law. Support for such a policy has remained about the same since 2013.

KHIP, which is sponsored by Interact for Health and Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, has shown support for a statewide smoke-free law since 2011.

“There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” said O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H., President and CEO of Interact for Health. “Research has shown that smoke-free policies have immediate health benefits, including lowering rates of cardiovascular disease and asthma, by reducing contact with the dangerous chemicals in secondhand smoke. Further, these laws can promote smoking cessation and prevent youth from beginning to use tobacco.”

According to the most recent data from the American Lung Association, 28 states—including Ohio—have enacted comprehensive smoke-free policies. Kentucky does not have a comprehensive, statewide smoke-free law, but local measures have been enacted to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. According to the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy, 35.3% of Kentuckians are protected by smoke-free laws covering all indoor workplaces and public places. This includes the City of Williamstown in Grant County, which, with support from Interact for Health, is implementing a smoke-free law in 2019.

“We applaud Mayor Rick Skinner for taking steps to protect the health of those who live, work and play in Williamstown,” said Owens. “Interact for Health will continue to support policy changes to protect all people from the harms of tobacco.”

Other data of note

  • Support for a statewide, smoke-free law is highest among Kentucky adults who have never smoked (75%), followed by former smokers (67%) and current smokers (46%).
  • KHIP also looked at policies to raise the minimum age of legal sale for tobacco from 18 to 21, finding that about 6 in 10 Kentucky adults (56%) support such measures.

About the Kentucky Health Issues Poll

The 2018 Kentucky Health Issues Poll was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health. It was conducted Aug. 26-Oct. 21, 2018, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 1,569 adults from throughout Kentucky was interviewed by telephone. This included 697 landline interviews and 872 interviews with cell phone users. In 95 of 100 cases, the statewide estimates will be accurate to ±2.5%. There are other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as nonresponse, question wording or context effects that can introduce error or bias. For more information about the Kentucky Health Issues Poll, please visit www.healthy-ky.org or www.interactforhealth.org/about-khip/.

About Interact for Health

Interact for Health is improving the health of all people in our region. We serve as a catalyst by promoting health equity through grants, education, research, policy and engagement. To amplify the impact of our work, Interact for Health focuses on three strategic priorities: reducing tobacco use, addressing the opioid epidemic and ensuring that children have access to health care through school-based health centers. We are an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

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