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Kentucky’s 2013 legislative session ended on Tuesday, March 26, and Frankfort was unsuccessful in passing legislation to make public places in Kentucky smoke free. In a state that leads the nation in lung cancer deaths and smoking rates, it is tragic that the General Assembly lacks the political will to protect its citizens from toxic second-hand smoke. All Kentuckians will pay the price for this missed opportunity to reduce smoking’s tremendous health and economic burden on the state.
As someone who has suffered from heart disease from a young age, this issue is important to me because I believe that everyone in Kentucky has the right to breathe clean air. The link between second-hand smoke and disease is well documented, and the connection to cardiovascular-related disability and death is also clear. Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke is the most preventable cause of premature death.
I stand behind the American Heart Association and the Smoke Free Kentucky Coalition as they remain committed to this issue, and we will not stop working until all Kentuckians are protected. It’s my hope that many others in our community will take action to support a statewide ban to prohibit smoking in public places.