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Poll: Most Kentuckians Favor Statewide Smoking Ban

December 20, 2011

FRANKFORT, Ky. - A statewide smoke-free law is more than a breath of fresh air, according to a majority of Kentuckians in a new poll. They support legislation to ban smoking in indoor public places. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky commissioned the random survey of more than 1600 Kentuckians.

Sarah Walsh, senior program officer with the Foundation, says the poll shows that more than 54 percent of adults favor a statewide ban on smoking in most public places.

"The majority of Kentuckians do support a statewide smoke-free law to prohibit smoking, you know, in most workplaces - so, bars, restaurants, office buildings - places that are open to the public. We think that secondhand smoke doesn't belong there - or at least, that's what most Kentuckians think. "

Support for a state smoke-free law was higher among voters than among the general public, with nearly six in ten registered voters favoring such a law. Walsh says the survey demonstrates that it's a nonpartisan issue for Kentuckians.

"We had exactly the same level of support, of 55 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Republicans said, 'Yeah, I think there should be a statewide smoke-free law in Kentucky.'"

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is joining the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati to gauge public opinion in both areas about other health issues as well, including prescription drug abuse.

"We think policy is an important tool for impacting the health of the community. And we really think that policymakers need to be informed about local views in order to do that."

This year's findings on the smoke-free issue show an increase in support over last year, when Kentuckians were split on the matter.

State Representative Susan Westrom, a Lexington Democrat, plans to introduce a bill to ban smoking in indoor public places and workplaces in the upcoming legislative session.

The poll is online at healthy-ky.org.

Renee Shaw, Public News Service - KY