Leitchfield passes smoking ban to take effect Jan. 1

Grayson County (Wikipedia image)

Leitchfield, the seat of Grayson County in west-central Kentucky, will become smoke-free on New Year’s Day.

The Leitchfield City Council voted 4-1 on Sept. 19 for the ordinance to prohibit smoking in enclosed public places starting Jan. 1, Matt Lasley reports for the Grayson County News-Gazette.

Mayor William Thomason said the delayed start date will allow those who will be affected by the ordinance time to plan and prepare for it, Lasley reports. The ordinance does allow some exemptions.

The new law requires “No Smoking” signs to be displayed anywhere that smoking is prohibited and says local and state police will enforce the ban, with penalties for smokers up to $50 plus court costs and penalties for businesses that “willingly fail to prohibit smoking” to increase progressively up to $250 plus court costs.

A motion for a countywide smoking ban died for lack of a second reading in the Grayson County Fiscal Court in January despite strong support from local schools, the Kentucky Cancer Program and the local hospital, Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center. A hospital spokesperson said in an e-mail to Kentucky Health News that the hospital has continued to be a strong advocate for a local smoke-free law.

Smoke-free advocates in Kentucky have shifted their focus to local smoke-free policies since last fall’s election of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who has said smoking bans should be a local issue.

Two-thirds of Kentuckians support a statewide smoking ban and have since 2013, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll. About one-third of the state is protected by comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws, according to the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy.

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