Kentucky doctor-lawmaker tries to restrict smoking in tobacco country

Sen. Ralph Alvarado gets rare win with school ban
Posted at 5:44 PM, Feb 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-20 17:46:12-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A medical doctor in the Kentucky Senate is leading the effort to restrict smoking in a state that leads the country in smoking rates.

Republican state Sen. Ralph Alvarado has pushed several statewide workplace smoking bans, only to fail in a state where the cultural and economic heft of tobacco has maintained its grip on public policy.

This week, Alvarado scored a victory when he convinced the state Senate to approve a ban on all tobacco products at Kentucky's 173 public school districts and school-sponsored events. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.

Kentucky leads the nation in smoking rates and incidents of smoking-related cancer and is historically the country's largest producer burley tobacco.