A Policy Analysis of Smoke-Free Legislation in Kentucky

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Abstract

This article presents a policy analysis of proposed smoke-free legislation in Kentucky during the 2015 General Assembly. Kingdon's three streams model of agenda setting is used to analyze the failure to pass HB145. Secondhand smoke exposure and related deaths are a significant public health problem in Kentucky, a state with one of the highest smoking rates in the U.S. HB145, a comprehensive smoke-free bill, was designed to protect workers and the general public from secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol in enclosed workplaces and public places, with few exemptions. The bill faced intense criticism from opponents who were concerned about violation of personal and business rights and the belief that the decision should be addressed on a local level. HB145 passed the House with amendments but failed to receive a hearing in the Senate. Failure of the smoke-free legislation was due to partisanship, fragmentation of advocacy groups, lack of political bargaining, and conflict of values. As in past years, the policy window did not open for state smoke-free legislation in 2015.

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