LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 20, 2010) − The Commonwealth of Kentucky will receive an award tomorrow for placing 3rd in the nation for passing strong, 100 percent smoke-free laws. The University of Kentucky College of Nursing's Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy and key partner organizations continue to advocate for comprehensive smoke-free laws in Kentucky. Currently, 30.6 percent of Kentucky’s population is covered by 100 percent smoke-free laws, compared to 46.9 percent in the United States.
The Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy provides rural and urban communities across Kentucky with science-based strategies for advancing smoke-free policies on the local level and educates citizens and policymakers about the importance of smoke-free environments.
"Elected officials and committed advocates from 17 progressive Kentucky communities deserve this award for stepping up to do the right thing by ensuring that all workers breathe clean air while on the job," said Ellen Hahn, director of the Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy..
The award will be presented during the Rural Smoke-Free Communities Project Leadership Exchange Conference, titled "Smoke-free: Let the Games Begin." The award will be presented during lunch by the Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights executive director, Cynthia Hallett.
"Passing strong local laws is no easy task, and Kentucky has our deepest respect and admiration for this impressive accomplishment, particularly given its history as a tobacco growing and manufacturing state," Hallett said. "We hope the state will continue to be a leader in the passage of local smoke-free laws, and accomplishing our collective public health goal of protecting nonsmokers from the health hazards of secondhand smoke."
In addition to the Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy at UK, partners include the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the Kentucky Department for Public Health's Tobacco Program, and the Kentucky Cancer Consortium.
Cigarette smoking remains the single most preventable cause of death in the United States, accounting for approximately one out of every five deaths each year. Kentucky is a national leader in adult cigarette smoking at 25.6 percent and spends an estimated $1.17 billion per year treating sick smokers.
The Rural Smoke-Free Communities Project Leadership Exchange Conference Award Ceremony will be held at 11:30 on Tuesday, Sept. 21 at the Doubletree Suites in Lexington.