In tobacco-rich Kentucky, Governor Steve Beshear has called for a ban on smoking in certain public places, an effort to improve the state's dismal public health record and to reduce strains on its health system.
"Our addiction hurts productivity, jacks up health care costs and kills our people," Beshear, a Democrat, said in his state of the state address Wednesday (February 6). "Yet we've never instituted a statewide law to protect Kentuckians from second-hand smoke … It's time for us to begin looking seriously at doing this."
About 29 percent of Kentuckians in 2011 said they smoke, according to surveys by Gallup and Healthways. That was the highest rate in the nation. The state also is a national leader in prevalence of diabetes and lung cancer — diseases that correlate to rates of smoking.