Hopkinsville newspaper says it’s time for legislators to capitalize on strong public support for a statewide smoking ban

Noting the results of a poll that show two-thirds of Kentuckians support a statewide ban on smoking in public places, the Kentucky New Era of Hopkinsville said in an editorial, “It is time to capitalize on the public’s support for smoke-free legislation.”

The locally owned daily, in a town where tobacco remains influential, said “Kentucky lawmakers — especially those from rural areas where tobacco interests have political influence and where residents value private property rights — have been reluctant to expose themselves to any backlash from opponents of smoke-free laws. Unfortunately, this kind of political calculation ignores the heavy toll of tobacco on Kentucky’s health.”

The paper noted that a smoking-ban bill “died in the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville. Obviously, Senate leaders expected Westerfield to let the bill languish. The appropriate assignment for the bill would have been the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, chaired by a supporter of the legislation. If the bill does land in Westerfield’s committee again, we hope he will ensure the measure advances to a floor vote.”

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