The Franklin County Coalition for a Smoke-Free Community is ready to step up its campaign now that a smoking ban has been approved in Lexington.
Debbie Howes-Fleming, tobacco prevention coordinator for the Franklin County Health Department, called Tuesday's 11-3 vote to ban smoking in public buildings by the Lexington-Fayette County Urban County Council "a great victory for the citizens of Kentucky."
The Frankfort group has been closely watching the efforts by the Lexington group, composed of health department and hospital personnel, as well as doctors and nurses.
Fleming praised the Fayette County group, saying "they worked very hard to educate the people about the fact that secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death.
"They were able to effectively counter tobacco companies' two top arguments about people's rights and how it hurts business," Fleming said. "They did a spectacular job with their campaign."
According to Fleming, the tobacco industry spent $26 million in advertising in the state of Kentucky last year "because of issues like this."
She expects other cities promoting smoking bans, like Frankfort and Louisville, to draw more attention from tobacco advocates.
For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.