State health commissioner encourages smoke-free ordinances

Kentucky’s public health commissioner said communities are moving in the right direction by enacting smoke-free ordinances and hopes Kentucky can become a smoke-free state. “We have communities in Letcher County, as well as areas in far Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky and Northern Kentucky implementing second-hand smoke ordinances because it’s dangerous for people who are non-smokers,” Dr. William Hacker said.

Hacker, who spoke at the Breathing Clean Air Summit in Owensboro Thursday, said 25 percent of Kentuckians smoke, the highest percentage in the country, reports Jasmin Embers of WFIE-TV in Evansville. “We’re ranked number one in lung cancer deaths, so if you’re number one in smoking, you can expect to be number one in lung cancer deaths,” Hacker said.
Hacker encouraged communities that already have smoke-free efforts or laws to go farther. Change can be seen at Owensboro Medical Health System, which now has four smoking huts on its campus. Those will be eliminated by the end of the year, a move that was decided after employees responded to a smoking survey. “Half of the respondents said they felt that smoking on OMHS grounds contradicted our mission statement to heal the sick and improve health of our community,” wellness committee member Gordon Wilkeron said. (Read more)
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