FRANKFORT — Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says that mustering legislative support for a bill that would ban smoking in private businesses and public areas is “an uphill battle.”

Stumbo, a Democrat, says that the bill, sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom, a Lexington Democrat, has only a handful of Republican votes and about 30 Democratic votes.

Despite his support, Stumbo says some lawmakers are apprehensive about the ban.

“The people in Prestonsburg already have it, for example,” Stumbo said, referring to his hometown. “If I vote for it, the people out in the county, who might object to it, didn’t get that same local option treatment that the city people, that the folks in the city did. And we’re running into a lot of that.”

A spokeswoman for Gov. Steve Beshear confirmed that he is working to persuade lawmakers individually to drum up support for the bill, which has languished in the House for nearly three weeks without a vote.

More than 30 localities across the state currently prohibit smoking in public areas and in some private businesses.

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