Governor continues push for statewide smoking ban

Roger Alford/Associated Press, Published:

(AP) — Gov. Steve Beshear continued his push Thursday for a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and other public places, calling on lawmakers to take action without delay.

"I predict to you that years from now people will be wondering why we waited so long," Beshear said during a Capitol rally in support of legislation intended to protect Kentuckians from secondhand smoke.

The bill is being hotly debated in Kentucky, one of the nation's top tobacco-producing states.

The House Health and Welfare Committee voted last week to approve the measure, which is now awaiting a vote on the House floor.

The governor initially pressed for the smoking ban during his annual State of the Commonwealth speech to a joint session of the legislature last week, saying the 25 percent of Kentuckians who smoke still could light up if the measure passes, just not in places where they would expose others to their smoke.

Beshear said some three dozen cities and counties in Kentucky already have smoking bans. That includes large cities like Lexington and Louisville as well as small towns like Beattyville and Manchester.

"More than a third of Kentuckians live in communities with comprehensive protections for their people and their workers, and almost half of Kentuckians live in areas with at least some protection," he said. "It's time to create this protection statewide."

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, has said the measure, which would have been quashed in year's past, appears to have a shot at passage this year. Some House Republicans, however, oppose the measure, arguing that the Legislature shouldn't be dictating smoking bans in local jurisdictions. Decisions about where people should smoke, they contend, should rest with city and county governments.

"This isn't a Democrat or Republican issue," Beshear said. "This is an issue that affects Kentucky."

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  • Again it isn't up to the CUSTOMER what LEGAL activity a BUSINESS OWNER allows on THEIR PROPERTY. We live in a Constitutional Republic, not a Democratic State....... If you do not like to be around smokers GO ELSEWHERE......I find it hard to understand why you feel your business is more important than the 10 customers your anti-smoking agenda robs from the business owner. You have a CHOICE to eat at another location that CHOOSES to cater to you as a customer. Yet you contend that the BUSINESS OWNER has no right to cater to the people he wants in his business? BS...

  • Gasoline is a legal product too, but you can't walk into a public establishment with a spritzer bottle of it and spray it into the air...and it would be asinine to tell those working there that if they don't like it, to go work somewhere else. There are limits to expressing our choices and our rights based on the danger that they impose to others around us. There are all kinds of workplace standards that are in place to protect workers from hazardous conditions at their place of employment. Would the good Marketing Director have us believe that we should abandon those health and safety standards too? Smoking ordinances are NOT about smoking, they are about public health. The question is not whether adults have the right to smoke tobacco, but do they have the right to make everyone around them do it too. In those states that have decriminalized marijuana, they still do not allow it to be done in public places. ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ The KY farmer's "throats were cut" a long time ago when the University of Kentucky went to South America at the bequest of the all powerful tobacco industry to teach them how to grow tobacco in cleared rainforest land. Then when it finally dawned on most people that tobacco was a very lethal and addictive drug, that was a known Group A carcinogen (human) that was being directly marketed to our kids, that our government should not be supporting its use in the Tobacco Price Support Program. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Oh MD, how a little learning is such a dangerous thing...when you go off half-cocked.

  • It is now and always has been a violation of the equal protection clause of the US Constitution. You are violating a private business owners right to allow a legal product to be used by his customers and my themselves in their own business and on their own property. If someone does not want to be around smokers,.......eat or drink somewhere else. That is YOUR CHOICE and YOUR RIGHT to patron the businesses that cater to your desires because they WANT TO. If someone does not want to work around smokers,....work somewhere else. Nobody forced to you to fill out the application and nobody forced you to take the job. You knew going in the front door whether there was smoking or not. Smoking ordinances are not about smoking,.......they are about control. The same people who want smoking banned, are the 1st to stand up and say "Legalize Pot"... Just remember that same tax revenue you post smokers are crying about,.......comes from cigarettes too. Keep cutting the throats of Kentucky's farmers.

  • It is well past time for our Legislature to act on this ban...think of the children!