Broad ban on use of tobacco on state property takes effect, except in Capitol and Annex, where law supersedes policy

“Despite a smoking ban and a tobacco-free campus policy starting Thursday for any of the more than 3,000 state buildings, legislative employees working at the Capitol Annex can still light up without a write-up,” Brad Bowman reports for The State Journal in Frankfort.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s new policy bans use of tobacco products in all executive branch properties, with a few specific exceptions. The ban took effect Thursday, to coincide with the American Cancer Society’s “Great American Smokeout Day,” which encourages smokers to quit.

Beshear can set policy for all such properties except those in the Capitol and Capitol Annex, which are set by law. “The statute prohibits smoking in public areas, such as hallways, offices shared by more than one person, stairwells, restrooms, the cafeteria and conference rooms,” Robert Weber, public information officer for Legislative Research Commission, told Bowman. The state House “prohibits smoking in common areas and office suites,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo said.

The state Supreme Court recently voted to make its Capitol space smoke-free, and “The use of tobacco products is prohibited in all areas of the AOC campus without exception,” Administrative Office of the Courts spokeswoman Jamie Neal told Bowman. “This includes common work areas, conference and meeting rooms, private offices, hallways, break rooms, restrooms, outdoor grassy areas, picnic-table areas and parking lots.”

Beshear’s office says about 5,000 executive branch state workers report using tobacco, “raising their health care costs an average of 20 percent higher than those that don’t,” Bowman reports.

Exceptions to Beshear’s order include state parks, the state fairgrounds, the Frankfort convention center, state-maintained rest areas, military training centers and armories.

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