SUNDAY EDITION | New group seeks tax hike on Kentucky cigarettes amid pension woes
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – For the last decade, Cathy Anderson has tried to help people in northeastern Kentucky’s Boyd County quit smoking or not start using tobacco at all.
The county seat, Ashland, bans smoking in workplaces and other public spaces. And all three of the area’s public school systems have tobacco-free campuses.
But the adult smoking rate of 21 percent remains higher than the national average of about 15 percent, as is the case across the state. At 25 percent Kentucky has the second-highest share of adult smokers in the U.S., trailing only neighboring West Virginia.
“I want jobs here. I want my kids to stay here,” said Anderson, a registered nurse who oversees Boyd County’s tobacco cessation program. “When it comes to this area looking attractive, we’re not – and it’s because of smoking.”
Other states have sought to cut smoking rates by raising taxes on cigarettes. Anderson and the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department favor that approach – as does a new, wide-ranging collection of more than 100 Kentucky organizations.