Coalition of health groups launches two-week ad campaign to drum up support for a statewide smoking ban

A geographically targeted newspaper and online advertising campaign calling for “a comprehensive, statewide smoke-free law” is hitting Kentucky media outlets this week, as the legislature convenes, and next week. The campaign was launched by Smoke-Free Kentucky Coalition, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The newspaper ad can viewed here.

Twenty-nine percent of Kentucky adults are smokers, giving the state the highest smoking rate in the U.S., and ranks very high in youth smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Kentucky also has the nation’s highest lung cancer death rates, 87 percent of which are caused by smoking, according to the National Cancer Institute. The state also “lags behind other states in enacting a comprehensive, statewide smoke-free law that covers all indoor workplaces, including bars and restaurants,” a press release about the ad campaign says. Twenty-four states have smoking bans. A fall poll for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky showed that 59 percent of Kentucky adults support a smoking ban in workplaces, restaurants and bars. For a story on the poll, click here.

Tobacco-Free Kids communications manager Catherine Butsch said the ad is running in the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Messenger-Inquirer of Owensboro, the Daily Independent of Ashland, the Commonwealth Journal of Somerset, the Kentucky New Era of Hopkinsville, the Glasgow Daily Times, the Paducah Sun, the Paducah-based West Kentucky News, the Sentinel-Echo of London, the Lebanon Enterprise, the Jessamine Journal, the Tompkinsville News, the Carlisle Weekly of Bardwell, the Fulton Leader, the Marshall County Tribune Courier, and the Kentucky Gazette, a government-oriented twice-monthly in Frankfort. The online ad will run on websites of the Herald-Leader, Business Lexington, The Lane Report and CN2, a cable news service. The campaign will cost $93,000, Butsch said.

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