By Stephanie Mayfield, M.D.
Commissioner of the Department for Public Health
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The single largest negative impact on our collective health today is tobacco smoke exposure, of which Kentucky leads the nation.
We have the highest exposure rate to secondhand smoke of all states. Not surprising, given we have the greatest number of tobacco smokers as well, at 28.3 percent of adults, versus 18 percent nationally. Research shows that exposure to tobacco smoke not only causes cancer, but can undo the benefits of chemotherapy and help tumors grow. We rank first in deaths from cancer. If nobody smoked, one out of every three cancer deaths in our country would not occur.
I encourage all Kentuckians to follow the U.S. Surgeon General's advice to protect ourselves and our families:
Although nicotine is addictive, you can beat it and you're more likely to be successful if you seek help. Call us at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. If you are without health insurance, apply through kynect.ky.gov to find affordable health insurance that will assist with paying for health coverage and smoking cessation therapies.
We should pass a comprehensive, secondhand tobacco smoke-free law.
Let's breathe easier, Kentucky. The time to end this preventable health crisis is now.
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