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A Smoke-Free Road Trip to Fancy Farm

PHOTO: Advocates of a statewide smoke-free workplace law are hoping Kentuckians will be seeing fewer indoor ashtrays by 2015, as they promote proposed indoor smoking ban legislation around the commonwealth this week. Photo credit: Greg Stotelmyer.
PHOTO: Advocates of a statewide smoke-free workplace law are hoping Kentuckians will be seeing fewer indoor ashtrays by 2015, as they promote proposed indoor smoking ban legislation around the commonwealth this week. Photo credit: Greg Stotelmyer.
July 29, 2014

FANCY FARM, Ky. - Advocates for a statewide smoke-free law are coursing the commonwealth this week, with Saturday's annual political picnic at Fancy Farm as their final destination.

The six-day road trip is the latest effort to convince lawmakers Kentucky needs a comprehensive indoor smoke-free law in all public places and workplaces. Betsy Janes, Smoke-Free Kentucky Coalition coordinator, says the time is right for passage in the 2015 legislative session.

"There's no question the general population is ready for this, it's just been a matter of getting the Legislature with us," says Janes. "We've done a very good job of explaining this is good for health, it's good for business, and it's become very popular."

Dr. Molly Houser, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, says young women who are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant need to know about the dangers of indoor smoke.

According to Houser, a baby's heart begins to form at five weeks after conception, and she says the latest research indicates secondhand smoke is every bit as harmful as intentional smoking, both to mothers and developing infants.

"By the time they realize they're pregnant, even if they quit cold turkey, it's already too late," says Houser. "The organs are already formed."

The smoke-free road trip began Monday in Ashland, along the Ohio River in the northeastern corner of the state, and makes stops in 10 cities before arriving Saturday at Fancy Farm in the far southwest corner of the state. Janes say people will be on hand with firsthand stories about the effects of smoking at each stop.

"These are people that have been impacted by secondhand smoke, that work in environments with smoke, and who have wives and daughters and loved ones who've had their health impacted by secondhand smoke exposure at work," says Janes.

So far in Kentucky, 22 communities have passed comprehensive smoke-free policies.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY