4:44pm

Mon March 4, 2013
Health and Welfare

Statewide Smoking Ban Still Up in the Air

Supporters of a statewide smoking ban in Kentucky are once again trying to persuade a House committee to pass the the legislation this session.  The House Judiciary Committee is the second committee—after House Health and Welfare—to hear the smoking ban bill sponsored by State Rep. Susan Westrom, a Lexington Democrat.  This time, property rights and business rights were the main topic of questioning, but Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson told the committee that Kentucky's businesses have long supported smoking bans.

"Some say the ban will have a negative impact on business," Abramson said. "And as I said to you, the Chamber of Commerce back at home and at the state made it clear that asthma and lung cancer keep employees out of their jobs."

But State Rep. Steven Rudy pointed out that language in the bill could have other unintended problems.

"As I read this section on smoke and smoking, you're outlawing the practice of raising dark fire tobacco in Kentucky and that's not your intent," said Rudy, a West Paducah Republican.

Sponsors of the legislation said they would be willing to put in new language to make sure dark fire tobacco could still be raised.

The bill also did not come up for a committee vote, leaving its future hanging in the balance.