A recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll shows that a majority of Kentuckians are now in support a statewide smoking ban.
The poll released Thursday was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The data shows that 65%, or roughly two/thirds, of Kentucky adults favor a statewide smoke-free law, up 6 points from last year, and 17 points from four years ago.
Opponents of the measure like Jim Waters of the Bluegrass Institute are concerned the law would infringe on the rights of private business owners.
But Foundation President Susan Zepeda says the issue isn’t political and that a state ban on smoking in public areas wouldn’t end up hurting business owners.
“That question of a particular business that might not want to make the policy unilaterally, just as their own business, for fear that it would drive customers to the business down the street, but if the entire state had a smoke-free policy, it would level that playing field for all the businesses," says Zepeda.
Of the surrounding states, only Missouri and West Virginia have no ban in place, while Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and Virginia have some form of statewide smoking prohibition.
Democratic State Representative Susan Westrom says she will try for a third time to get a ban for Kentucky through the 2014 General Assembly session beginning this month.