Lawmakers push statewide smoking ban in Kentucky - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Lawmakers push statewide smoking ban in Kentucky

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Kentucky's governor and several lawmakers are pushing a statewide smoking ban similar to restrictions that have been in place for years in Louisville. Kentucky's governor and several lawmakers are pushing a statewide smoking ban similar to restrictions that have been in place for years in Louisville.
Gov. Steve Beshear Gov. Steve Beshear
Jared Matthews Jared Matthews
Julie Brackett Julie Brackett
Anne Marshall Anne Marshall

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky's governor and several lawmakers are pushing a statewide smoking ban similar to restrictions that have been in place for years in Louisville.

A group of legislators said they would introduce legislation to ban smoking in Kentucky workplaces, bars and restaurants. Gov. Steve Beshear said in his State of the Commonwealth speech Tuesday he would support such restrictions, although a powerful lawmaker said he would oppose them.

Metro Louisville has had a smoking ban since July 2007, and it hasn't hurt business as much as bar manager Jared Matthews expected.

"People say they're not going to go out," said Matthews, the general manager at Diamond Pub and Billiards in St. Matthews. "Give them a month and they're going to go out. Everybody needs to let loose, have a beer, listen to a band, watch a game."

Health advocates said they believed this was their best chance yet to pass the statewide restrictions. A Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky poll earlier this month found 65 percent of respondents supported a ban, while 29 percent opposed one.

"Most elected officials would love to have 65 percent approval on anything they do," said Julie Brackett, vice president of advocacy for the American Heart Association's Louisville office.

But the proposal faces a challenge in the state Senate.

Sen. Robert Stivers, the Senate's Republican president, said after Beshear's speech that he would not support the statewide ban because it wasn't the role of government to decide.

Anne Marshall, a smoker, said she was conflicted about the idea. Louisville's ban has meant she must go to bars' outside smoking decks and she's cut back on smoking because of it.

But it shouldn't be the law across the whole state, she said.

"I have a hard time with it, because I have a hard time with government coming in and telling us what to do," Marshall said. "But (Louisville's ban) has helped me. I obviously still smoke but it's definitely reduced when I go out."

About half of U.S. currently ban smoking in workplaces, bars and restaurants.

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