Statewide smoking ban into effect Thursday

By executive order, no one will able to use any form of tobacco on most Kentucky state-owned property.  This extends to employees and visitors and includes chew tobacco, cigarettes, and e-cigarettes.

More than 2,000 state buildings and 30,000 state workers are impacted by the mandate.

This wide-spread smoking ban will be an adjustment for state workers.

Kentucky Transportation Maintenance Superintendent, Keith Ballard broke the news to his employees, “Mixed feelings, mixed feelings. Some of them are okay with it.”

Those smokers and non-smokers alike know the ban will be an adjustment, “I know its a very difficult and challenging thing to do.”

Michael McGregor, the Chief District Engineer for the Transportation Cabinet says the agencies still need some instruction from the state, “Is it a zero tolerance, is there some sort of grace period?”

Because smoking has been a long-time habit statewide, “There are smokers that are disappointed this has been assigned, but I think they understand its a policy.”

Even places that were previously designated as smoking areas, now smokers both visitors and employees will have to travel off campus to smoke.

Because all Ballard can do is encourage his employees, “It’s going to be tough on them, and I feel sorry for them.”

Though Ballard anticipates long-term benefits, he knows the challenge to quit, amidst a challenging job, “You’ve got a stressful enough job, now you’re adding more stress.”

There are few exceptions to the state’s new smoking ban. They include state parks, wildlife management areas, and state rest areas.

The order also does not apply to universities and properties overseen by the judicial and legislative branches of government, or constitutional officers like the treasurer and the attorney general.

All the constitutional officers except Agriculture Commissioner James Comer have told the governor they will recognize the ban. Kentucky is the fifth state adopting the ban after Delaware, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Dakota.

For the Governor’s commentary, click here.

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