Support is growing among Kentuckians for a statewide smoke-free law, according to a new poll by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll shows that 71 percent of Kentuckians favor a comprehensive smoke-free workplace law, an increase of 5 percent in just the past year.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky is 50th in the nation in the number of adult smokers (29% of the population). Smoking-attributable health expenditures are estimated at more than $1.5 billion annually in Kentucky, including over $700 million Medicaid tax-payer dollars, while smoking-attributable economic productivity loss is estimated at more than $2.3 billion each year in the state.
The Chamber has long been a vocal supporter of enacting a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law that prohibits smoking in indoor workplaces and public places, including restaurants, bars and hotels. Thirty-three percent of Kentucky’s population and 28 states and the District of Columbia have passed comprehensive smoke-free laws that have proven to curb smoking rates and lower health care costs without negatively affecting business.
“This new poll reflects the strong support of a statewide smoke-free law of the business community. Smoking is not only killing us, it is bankrupting us. Over 90 percent of our members surveyed support such a law and we will continue advocating for smoke-free legislation that not only saves lives but also improves the economic health of the Commonwealth,” Kentucky Chamber Vice President of Public Affairs Ashli Watts said Wednesday.