The U.S. Surgeon General recommends comprehensive tobacco-free policies and increasing prices on cigarettes and other tobacco products as proven strategies to reduce smoking rates and protect nonsmokers.1 Currently, only 36% of Kentuckians are covered by local smokefree laws that include all indoor workplaces and public places.2 Kentucky is one of 13 states without any type of statewide smoke-free indoor air law.3 Only 15 states have cigarette excise taxes lower than Kentucky’s tax, which was raised to $1.10 per pack in 2018.4 The current average tax for all states and Washington, D.C., is $1.81 per pack.4 The most recent national data show that Kentucky has among the highest percentages of both current adult e-cigarette users and current adult cigarette users.5 The 2019 Kentucky Health Issues Poll asked Kentucky adults their opinions about smoke-free policies and exposure to tobacco smoke at work. KHIP is sponsored by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
KHIP asked, “Would you favor or oppose a state law in Kentucky that would prohibit smoking in most public places, including workplaces, public buildings, offices, restaurants and bars?” Three in 4 Kentucky adults (74%) reported they would favor such a law. This is the highest level of support since KHIP began asking this question in 2011, and an increase from 2018.
Support for a statewide smoke-free law was strong regardless of political party affiliation or region. Majorities of Democrats (80%), Republicans (73%) and Independents (65%) favored such a law. Likewise majorities in areas across the state favored a smoke-free law (Western Kentucky, 80%; Lexington area, 77%; Louisville area, 76%; Northern Kentucky, 73%; and Eastern Kentucky, 64%).
One in 4 Kentucky adults (25%) reported recent exposure to tobacco smoke in their workplace.6 Support for a statewide smoke-free law did not vary by smoke exposure. Nearly 8 in 10 Kentucky adults who were exposed to smoke in their workplace (77%) favored such a law. About 7 in 10 Kentucky adults who were not exposed to smoke in their workplace (74%) favored such a law.
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2015). Let’s Make the Next Generation TobaccoFree: Your Guide to the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2weDZaI.
2 Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy. (2020). Kentucky Smoke-free Ordinance Database. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2TmHa7V.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3cfpoMA. States without a statewide law are Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
4 Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. (2020). State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3a9BzZu. States with an excise tax on cigarettes less than $1.10 per pack include Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming.
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health. BRFSS Prevalence & Trends Data [online]. 2017 and 2018. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2T8hWeQ.
6 KHIP asked, “During the past seven days, on how many days did you breathe the smoke at your workplace from someone other than you who was smoking tobacco?”
Interact for Health regularly conducts research and collects data in order to monitor and evaluate our region’s health status and to measure public opinions about health policy.
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