Ky. River District Health Department director named a Ky. health policy champion for helping pass Perry County’s smoke-free law

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has named Public Health Director Scott Lockard of the Kentucky River District Health Department its latest Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion for leading the team that helped Perry County enact a smoke-free workplace ordinance.

Perry is the first county in Eastern Kentucky to go smoke-free, and one of only six that have a comprehensive law that includes all workplaces and enclosed public places.

“Scott and his team showed patience, persistence and a determination to do the legwork to get the right policy passed in Perry County,” Fran Feltner, director of the Hazard-based University of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Rural Health, said in a foundation news release. “This law will greatly reduce the exposure to secondhand smoke for all residents of the county, and may also reduce the smoking rates.”

The Perry County Fiscal Court passed the ordinance June 18 and it went into effect immediately. It bans smoking and use of e-cigarettes in all indoor and outdoor workplaces, and indoor public places.

The health department worked closely with Shannon Smith, state director of government relations for the American Heart Association, to educate the community and Fiscal Court members about the health benefits of the ordinance, the release says.

“With the help, guidance and support of Scott and his team, especially Sherrie Stidham, we were successful in building the powerful partnerships needed to pass this ordinance, which is backed by many health organizations and citizen advocates,” Smith said.

Following passage of the ordinance, the county seat of Hazard strengthened its smoke-free policy to mirror the countywide law.

Lockard and the health department, along with other winners of the award, are now eligible for the Gil Friedell Health Policy Champion award, which comes with a $5,000 grant from the foundation to a Kentucky-based nonprofit of the winner’s choice. The winner will be announced at the foundation’s annual health policy forum Sept. 23 in Lexington.