Lt. Governor Crit Luallen’s Communications Office
Lt. Gov. Luallen Leads Third kyhealthnow Oversight Team Meeting

Press Release Date:  Thursday, November 20, 2014  
Contact Information:  Kerri Richardson
Terry Sebastian
502-564-2611
 


State government tobacco free policy discussed

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The kyhealthnow oversight team met for the third time in Frankfort today – the day of the Great American Smokeout – to review the implementation of the state’s tobacco-free initiative on state properties and discuss other issues impacting the health of the state.

Today marks the first kyhealthnow meeting led by Kentucky’s new Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen, who was sworn into office last week following former Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson’s departure to accept an appointment at the White House.

Gov. Steve Beshear announced earlier this year that state government campuses would become tobacco free Nov. 20, 2014 – meaning no cigarettes, tobacco products or e-cigarettes as a means of addressing Kentucky’s high rates of smoking, tobacco use and cancer deaths. The policy applies to parking lots, sidewalks, and green space and impacts 2,888 state-owned buildings.

“Tobacco use is one of the most concerning issues facing the health of our state,” said Lt. Gov. Luallen. “Prohibiting the use of tobacco on state government campuses sends the message that we are serious about lowering the rate of tobacco use, protecting the public from secondhand exposure and, we hope, encouraging tobacco users to quit. We strongly encourage other governmental agencies, universities and the private sector to follow our lead and adopt similar policies in their offices and places of doing business.”

Kentucky is the fifth state to institute such a policy. State government is the largest single employer in Kentucky, and the tobacco-free rule will affect approximately 33,000 state workers, as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors to state offices and properties.

A primary goal of Gov. Beshear’s kyhealthnow initiative is to reduce smoking rates by 10 percent by 2019.

“Since its inception, kyhealthnow has looked at a broad array of programs and strategies to improve the state’s health status. The tobacco-free policy for state government campuses reflects our commitment to that goal,” said Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, vice-chair of the kyhealthnow oversight team.

In addition to the transition tobacco-free state government campuses, the oversight committee discussed the implementation of bullying prevention strategies and substance abuse disorders and the treatment options now available to Kentuckians as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

The Great American Smokeout is a national campaign initiated by the American Cancer Society in 1977 to draw attention to the health risks of tobacco use and secondhand smoke.

Each year during the Smokeout, health officials work to raise public awareness of the health risks of tobacco use and the many effective ways available to quit using tobacco. Historically, Americans try to quit smoking during the Great American Smokeout more than any other day of the year, including New Year’s Day.

In Kentucky, individuals interested in quitting can call Kentucky’s free tobacco cessation program, Quit Now Kentucky, at 1-(800)-QUIT NOW. Quit Now Kentucky provides phone-based coaching, as well as online and text messaging support to individuals interested in quitting tobacco.

The Health and Human Services website, www.smokefree.gov, offers online advice and downloadable information to make tobacco cessation easier. For online information about the American Lung Association program Freedom from Smoking, visit or for online information about the Cooper/Clayton Method to Stop Smoking, visit www.kcr.uky.edu/kcp/cooperclayton.htm.

Additional information about kyhealthnow can be found here http://governor.ky.gov/healthierky/kyhealthnow/pages/default.aspx.

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