Tobacco State Communities Clear the Air

February 09, 2012

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More and more communities in South Carolina and Kentucky — states where tobacco used to be king — are helping reduce smoking and protect everyone from dangerous secondhand smoke by enacting local ordinances requiring workplaces and public places to be smoke-free.

In South Carolina, North Myrtle Beach became the latest Palmetto State municipality to clear the air when the City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking in workplaces and public places. There are now 44 smoke-free communities in South Carolina.

Meanwhile in Kentucky, two additional municipalities — Manchester and Somerset — got the New Year off to a healthy start by enacting smoke-free ordinances.  More than a third of Kentucky residents are now protected by smoke-free workplace laws, a dramatic increase from zero percent in 2004.

Smoke-free policies protect workers and customers alike from the lung cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses caused by secondhand smoke. Studies have repeatedly shown that these measures protect health without hurting business at restaurants and bars.

That’s why South Carolina and Kentucky should do more to protect residents and visitors by enacting strong, statewide smoke-free laws that include all restaurants, bars and other workplaces.

“We keep hearing that the bill won't go anywhere again this session because Kentucky is not ready for a statewide smoke-free law,” the Lexington Herald-Leader said in a recent editorial.  “But judging from the strong advance of clean-air laws at the local level, it just might be that Kentucky is ahead of the legislature on this one.”

Nationwide, 29 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and more than 640 cities have laws requiring smoke-free restaurants and bars.

Read more about clearing the air in South Carolina and Kentucky.