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Kentucky Smoking Ban Passes House, Faces Opposition In Senate

kentucky smoking ban

Kentucky lawmakers voted to ban smoking in all public buildings and workplaces on Friday, although the measure is unlikely to become a law.

The vote was still viewed as a landmark move in the state, which has one of the highest tobacco yields in the country. Representative Susan Westrom, who sponsored the bill, said secondhand smoke alone kills almost one thousand Kentuckians every year.

The legislation will face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled state Senate, although it passed the House 51 to 46.

Lawmakers debated an individual’s right to smoke in public against concerns for public health in a conservative and rural state that has some of the country’s highest rates for smoking, heart disease and cancer. Supporters of the bill say no one has the right to impinge on the health of others, Time reported.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Representative Susan Westrom” author_title=”Bill’s sponsor”]

Your rights to liberty stop when you harm other people. We’re merely asking people who do smoke, when they’re in a public enclosed place or a workplace, to step outside 15 feet to smoke.


Dozens of communities in Kentucky have smoke-free ordinances, but most of the state has no restrictions. Lexington, one of the largest cities in Kentucky, passed a smoking ban in 2004. The House amended the bill so that it would not pre-empt local smoke-free ordinances that are in effect. The bill calls for a violation fine of $25 for individuals and $50 for businesses.

Representative Tim More noted that tobacco is still a legal product, and pointed out that individuals who want to avoid smoke can avoid businesses that allow customers to smoke inside, according to ABC News.

There are 24 states with laws that require non-hospitality workplaces, bars and restaurants be smoke free, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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