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3 in 4 Kentucky adults say they support a statewide smoke-free law

Jun 22, 2020


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.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.

Large majority supports a statewide smoke-free law

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%).

Secondhand smoke in the workplace

One in 4 Kentucky adults (25%) reported recent exposure to tobacco smoke in their workplace.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

2 Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy. (2020). Kentucky Smoke-free Ordinance Database. Retrieved from

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System. Retrieved from 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 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

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?"

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