Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including nearly 70 that cause cancer, including arsenic, ammonia, formaldehyde, and polonium 210. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 50,000 Americans die each year from lung cancer and heart disease attributable to secondhand smoke exposure. The U.S. Surgeon General declared in 2006 that "The debate is over. The science is clear. Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance but a serious health hazard."
Clearly, the scientific evidence is indisputable. With this in mind, the Smoke-free Kentucky Coalition is heading into year 4 of its campaign to pass a comprehensive, statewide, smoke-free law. This bill prohibits smoking in all Kentucky workplaces and public places, including restaurants and bars. The reason is simple: no one should have to choose between their health and paycheck. Secondhand smoke is an unnecessary risk that is easily eliminated by simply asking people to smoke outside.
Smoke-free policies are the only effective way to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke, and many of our state’s local elected officials have recognized this fact. We now have 34% of Kentucky’s population covered by strong, smoke-free laws. We would like to see this local action continue, but the General Assembly needs to act to ensure that all Kentuckians are protected from the proven dangers of secondhand smoke.
To win we know we must think outside the box. Public health advocates cannot win this alone - that’s why we’re reaching out to people of faith across the state. 950 Kentuckians die each year from disease caused by secondhand smoke. All of those deaths are preventable. Please call your legislator at 1-800-372-7181 and tell them to pass a comprehensive statewide Smoke-Free bill in 2014. To find your legislator please go to www.lrc.ky.gov or www.votesmart.org.
Smoke-Free Kentucky would be pleased to send you or your church materials to distribute, completely free of charge. For more information on the coalition and how to get involved please contact Jamie Ennis Bloyd, Outreach and Education Coordinator for Smoke-Free Kentucky and member of Centenary United Methodist Church in Lexington.