Chances For a Kentucky Statewide Smoking Ban Are Slim

FRANKFORT — Chances that a smoking ban will pass in Kentucky this year are growing ever more slim.

Each year, about 1,000 Kentuckians die from illnesses related to second-hand smoke, but the Kentucky legislature hasn’t come close to passing a ban on smoking in public places and many private businesses.

Last week, state Rep. Susan Westrom, a Lexington Democrat, declared her ban proposal dead after House leadership refused to bring it for a vote on the floor.

State Sen. Julie Denton, a Louisville Republican, has sponsored a similar bill in her chamber. In a committee discussion about it, she expressed frustration when Sen. Julian Carroll asked her how to move the bill forward.

“What can we do to get this bill reported to the floor?” asked Carroll, a Frankfort Democrat.

“If I knew the answer to that question, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now,” Denton responded, laughing.

Advocates say they have not given up the fight, but recognize the measure may have a better chance next year—after the election cycle.

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