“Under the new rules, employees and visitors to executive branch agencies of state government won’t be able to light up or chew tobacco in state-owned or state-leased buildings, in state-owned vehicles or on state property — including parking lots, sidewalks and green space under the control of the executive branch of government,” Brammer writes, reporting that state workers “are fuming about it.”
|Human Resources Building, from main highway entrance|
About a dozen people smoking outside the state Human Resources Building last week told Brammer they were not happy with the policy. All but one did not want to be identified for “fear of retribution,” he reports, but Andrea Schank of Frankfort told him, “It feels like discrimination against smokers.” She and the others said there should be a designated smoking area. State Personnel Secretary Tim Longmeyer told Brammer that wouldn’t happen. He said state officials understand how addictive smoking is and they “are helping people to stop.”
David Smith, president of the Kentucky Association of State Employees, said “state workers who smoke should have a designated area and called the state’s ban on smoking in personal cars on state property ‘really invasive,'” Brammer writes.
Schank told Brammer that workers in the building will now have to walk about a half-mile to smoke, but that may not be the case if a new enterprise stays in business. Bill Bryant of WKYT-TV reported on KET‘s “Comment on Kentucky” Friday night that a van is circulating in and around the huge Human Resources campus, giving smokers a ride to places off the campus during work breaks.
State government is the largest employer in Kentucky, and the tobacco-free rule will affect about 33,000 state workers, plus hundreds of thousands of visitors to state offices and properties. Gov. Steve Beshear makes no apologies for the executive order that put this policy in place, justifying his decision with Kentucky’s dismal health statistics. Kentucky ranks first in smoking and cancer deaths.
Kentucky is the fifth state to adopt such a policy. The others are Delaware, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Dakota. Details of the policy can be found at https://tobacco-free.ky.gov.