Kentucky House passes proposed statewide smoking ban in state with historic ties to tobacco

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FRANKFORT, Kentucky — The Kentucky House has endorsed a statewide smoking ban in public buildings and most workplaces in a landmark vote in a state with historic ties to tobacco.

Lawmakers on Friday debated individuals' right to light up versus public health concerns in a state with some of the nation's highest smoking, cancer and heart disease rates.

The lead sponsor, Rep. Susan Westrom, said about 950 people die every year in Kentucky due to secondhand smoke exposure.

The measure passed the Democratic-led House, 51-46. It now goes to the Republican-run Senate, where it faces tougher odds. Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer has said there's not much sentiment in the chamber to pass a smoking ban.

Several dozen Kentucky communities have smoke-free ordinances, but broad swaths of the state have no such restrictions.

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