FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has banned all tobacco products from most state buildings and grounds in an attempt to create momentum for a statewide smoking ban when lawmakers return in January.
Kentucky's state buildings are already smoke-free. But this new policy, effective Nov. 20, bans all tobacco products, including chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes, from state property both indoors and outdoors.
The governor's office says it will impact visitors and 33,000 employees in 2,888 state buildings across Kentucky.
Beshear said he made the decision because Kentucky has one of the highest smoking rates in the country leading to nearly 8,000 tobacco-related deaths each year.
But the ban exempts outdoor state parks and other tourist areas because Beshear said he did not want to put the state at a competitive disadvantage for tourism dollars.