Tobacco Research Funding in a Smoke Free Environment

Dec 6, 2011

A veteran state lawmaker from a tobacco rich region is noticing more and more interest in making Kentucky communities smoke free.  Senator Joey Pendleton has represented a heavy tobacco growing area in western Kentucky for years.  He's gone to bat for farmers as they see dwindling income due to dropping cigarette sales.  Still, Pendleton sees a statewide anti-smoking trend.

“You know what, according to the e-mails that I’ve gotten...even in my district and I’m in a strong tobacco district… it is overwhelming for smoke free,” said Pendleton.

Pendleton doesn’t expect the legislature in 2012 to adopt a statewide smoke free policy.  But the senator envisions more and more Kentucky communities going smoke free.

Meanwhile, the future of support for Kentucky’s Tobacco and Research Development Center may include more money from private sources.  The revenue issue was discussed during a research board meeting Monday.  The Center, located on the University of Kentucky’s campus, receives one half cent from every pack of cigarettes sold in the state.  Those funds have been declining as cigarette sales drop.  Board member Joey Pendleton is among those looking for other financial sources.

“Well we’ve got a lot to do at the center here is to look and see where we’re gonna get additional income and as I see it partnering with pharmaceutical companies or other industry to help do research for them and get paid for it,” added Pendleton.

Pendleton doesn’t see much interest in raising Kentucky’s cigarette tax during the upcoming legislative session.