All children deserve to breathe clean air and be healthy, yet many Kentucky children live in a community that does not offer them strong protections from secondhand tobacco smoke in indoor public places. Exposure to secondhand smoke is also harmful to pregnant women and their babies, as it increases risk for poor birth outcomes. The science is clear that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

There is good news! Two Kentucky communities are one step closer to helping protect pregnant women and children from secondhand smoke.

On Tuesday, the Oldham County Fiscal Court voted to strengthen its smoke-free law by including e-cigarettes and removing exemption that left some workers unprotected. With a 7 – 1 vote, the Oldham County Fiscal Court recognizes that everyone has the right to breathe clean air.

Last week, the Paducah City Commission voted to strengthen their smoke-free ordinance to a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance by covering all workplaces and city owned outdoor areas like parks, sports arenas, playgrounds, and trails. The ordinance also prohibits the use of e-cigarettes where traditional cigarette use is prohibited. The Paducah ordinance was effective on Friday, April 13, 2018.

Comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinances improve health, and save health care dollars. And it recognizes that no one should have to choose between their lives, and their livelihood.

Secondhand smoke compromises the health of children as well as adults. In addition, children living in communities with comprehensive smoke-free policies are more likely to live in a voluntary smoke-free home. Congratulations to the Oldham County Fiscal Court, the Oldham County Health Department, the Paducah City Council, and the residents of both communities whose efforts have led to stronger protection from secondhand smoke.