Beshear calls for state-owned properties to be tobacco-free

09/04/2014 04:00 PM

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced Thursday he signed an executive order stating that all executive branch state property campuses will be tobacco-free effective November 20 – the day of the Great American Smokeout.

The order means no cigarettes, tobacco products or e-cigarettes may be used in state-owned or leased buildings, in state-owned vehicles or on state property.

The policy would impact 2,888 state-owned buildings and 568 other structures that the state leases.

Beshear says that the tobacco ban will help with his kyhealthnow initiative goal of reducing smoking rates by 10 percent by 2019. He also encouraged other entities to follow the states lead in banning tobacco.

“For the health and well being of all Kentuckians, I encourage all business and educational institutions, public and private, as well as any other state and governmental facilities, to follow the example,” Beshear said.

While no one will be policing specifically looking for state employees using tobacco products, Beshear said enforcement will part of the general rules and regulations of the workplace.

“As time goes on, anyone who repeatedly refuses to abide by the policy would be subject to disciplinary action just like any other violation of policy,” Beshear said.

The executive order does not include the General Assembly, the court system or the constitutional officers offices, although all Democratic officers have responded saying that they approve of the order. The governor has not heard back from Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer.

Other exceptions include the state parks, Kentucky Horse Park, Kentucky State Fairgrounds, wildlife management areas, military training centers, armories and certain state residential health facilities.

“You have people who already have various health situations and all of that and we felt like taking a somewhat a different approach with these people was acceptable under the circumstances,” Beshear said. “We don’t want to create any additional issues for them when they’re dealing with a lot of issues already.”

Kentucky joins four other states – Delaware, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Dakota in banning tobacco from all executive branch state property offices.

Temporary signs advising the new tobacco-free standard will be posted today on the entrances of all executive branch buildings.

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky President Susan Zepeda applauded the order in a released statement saying the governor’s decision is a clear signal that the state is serious about curbing the health issues associated with smoking.

“Today’s announcement by the governor underscores what our polling data indicate: Kentuckians know the risks of tobacco, and want protection from the harmful effects of second hand smoke. Our most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) shows that more than 65% of Kentuckians favor a statewide smoke free law, and 84% favor tobacco-free school campuses,” Zepeda said in the statement.

About Don Weber

Don Weber joined cn|2 when it launched back in May 2010 and soon became a reporter for Pure Politics. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University and has spent many years covering everything from politics to sports. Don says he loves meeting new people everyday as part of his job and also enjoys the fact that no two days are the same when he comes to work. Don Weber can be reached at donald.weber@charter.com.

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