Kentucky gets straight "F's" in American Lung Association smoking report

Ohio not much better
Posted at 2:57 AM, Jan 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-26 03:02:30-05

COVINGTON, Ky. - The grades are in and it's not  good for the state of Kentucky.

In its State of Tobacco Control report, The American Lung Association says the state gets an "F" when it comes to tobacco prevention and policy.

"We're still leading the nation in adult and youth smoking rates," says Stephanie Vogel of the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

Kentuckygot "F's" in all five categories -  including  smoke-free air,  tobacco prevention ans tobacco taxes.

Ohio didn't fare much better - it got four "F's" and one "A" - for smokefree air.

But it's not all bad news.

"We've seen our rates in Kentucky drop," Vogel said.

The ALA reports more than a quarter of people in the Bluegrass State smoke. And there is a lack of tobacco policy and programs to protect Kentuckians' health.

 But the Northern Kentucky Health Department is doing its part to counter that.

"We have a number of schools that have already passed tobacco-free policies and some that are still interested in looking at that," Vogel said.

Fort Mitchell recently passed a smoke-free park policy. And in Covington, the public housing authority is also going tobacco-free.

But some Nortghern Kentucky bars still allow smoking. The owner at Fort Mitchell's Sports Bar says 80 percent of its customers are smokers.

"I think people should be allowed a choice," said bar owner Charlene Perry. "If you don't want to be somewhere there is smoking, there's other places, or maybe have an area set aside just for smokers."

Whether someone smokes or not, there's a health and financial cost to all Kentuckians.

"We spend over a billion dollars in Kentucky treating folks who are sick from smoking," Vogel said.

There are programs to help smokers quit, however. In Northern Kentucky, call 1-800-QUITNOW.