TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
As president of the Kentucky Society for Respiratory Care and a board member of the Kentucky Rural Health Association, I urge state lawmakers to enact a smoke-free law, which would greatly benefit the health of Kentuckians. Secondhand smoke is a proven cause of death and disease in nonsmokers. As such, many cities, states and countries have passed laws that require all workplaces and public places to be smoke-free. This movement continues because smoke-free laws are good for business, popular and they save lives.
Every year in Kentucky, nearly 1,000 people die from the effects of secondhand smoke exposure (lung cancer, heart attacks, stroke, etc.). If Kentucky enacted a comprehensive, smoke-free law, it would ensure that everyone would have the right to breathe clean air at work and in public places. It is no longer acceptable to harm someone else with tobacco smoke.
As a citizen of Kentucky I deserve the opportunity to grow, thrive, be healthy and be informed and aware of my respiratory health. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and is a high-risk factor in Kentucky. I prefer smoke-free environments when deciding which Tri-County restaurants and other establishments to visit.
About 34 percent of Kentuckians are covered by local smoke-free laws. I urge our legislators to support a comprehensive statewide law, which would extend protections to all Kentucky citizens, including those of us in the Tri-County. The majority of Kentuckians want to breathe clean air — and everyone should have that right!