The Population Health Committee (PHC), whose members announced last November that they intend to request a smoke-free ordinance in Grayson County, has released the findings of a survey to gauge the public’s opinion on the subject.
“An overwhelming number of people who responded said they would prefer to work, shop, and eat in a business that did not allow smoking inside,” said Bill Oldham, Director of Planning and Marketing at Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center (TLRMC) in a recent PHC press release. “By over four to one, respondents said they would support a Smoke Free Grayson County ordinance.”
The PHC, whose members consist of representatives from TLRMC, Grayson County Schools, the Grayson County Health Department, local manufacturing, and the Kentucky Cancer Program has presented the results of its survey to members of the Grayson County Fiscal Court.
Highlights from the survey are as follows:
By a margin of 85.4 percent to 14.6 percent, most of those surveyed said that they and their families prefer to work, shop, and eat in businesses that do not allow smoking inside.
By a margin of 89.4 percent to 10.6 percent, most of those surveyed agreed that people working in restaurants should be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke.
77.9 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement, “Breathing secondhand smoke is as harmful to one’s health as smoking a cigarette.” 12.4 percent of those surveyed disagreed, and 9.7 percent of individuals surveyed were unsure.
Finally, by a margin of 82.3 percent to 17.7 percent, most individuals surveyed said they would support a Smoke Free Grayson County ordinance.
The PHC intends to address the Fiscal Court during its Friday, Jan. 15 meeting—which will be held at 11 a.m. in the Judicial Center at 125 East White Oak St. in Leitchfield—to request an ordinance that would prohibit smoking inside local workplaces and enclosed public places but would not affect private homes or outdoor spaces.
“Grayson County has significantly higher death rates from heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke than does Kentucky and the United States,” Oldham said. “All of these conditions are known to be associated with secondhand smoke exposure. The Population Health Committee and other concerned citizens are asking the Grayson County Fiscal Court to make it easier for people to breathe clean air inside public buildings and businesses throughout the county by passing a Smoke Free ordinance.”
TLRMC Chief Executive Officer and Population Health Committee Chairman Wayne Meriwether agreed with Oldham.
“This is a major public health issue facing our communities,” Meriwether said. “A Smoke Free ordinance would not force anyone to stop smoking. However, everyone has the right to breath smoke-free air at work and in public places. We hop the Grayson County Fiscal Court will take action to protect the health of all our residents.”
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.