(FRANKFORT, Ky - November 1, 2017) The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow launched just two weeks ago, but the broad-based statewide Kentucky alliance already has signed on more than a dozen additional organizations, and support now exceeds 100 members and partners.

Supporters of the new campaign to reduce smoking and secondhand smoke exposure in Kentucky include major employers, such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing, UPS and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, as well as medical professionals, hospitals and other health care providers; school districts and education professionals; national and state health and disease-prevention advocates; faith-based groups; and local health departments. A complete list is available on the Coalition website here.

"Every day, more organizations join our campaign because they see the fundamental link between our state's dismal health and our high tobacco use, and they know we have to build a new generation of nonsmokers," said Ben Chandler, chair of the Coalition and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "Kentucky is one of the cheapest places in the nation to purchase tobacco products, and that's a big reason why our youth smoking rate is more than twice the national average."

The Coalition proposes raising Kentucky's cigarette tax by $1 or more per pack, with parallel increases in taxes on other tobacco products. Smaller increases do not produce the significant health benefits or health care cost savings because cigarette companies can easily offset the impact of such increases with temporary price cuts, coupons and other promotional discounting. A $1 per pack increase would keep 23,200 youth from becoming adults who smoke, the Coalition said.

Boosting the number of Kentucky cities and counties that have indoor workplace smoke-free laws also is on the Coalition's agenda. Smoke-free laws protect workers, customers and visitors from secondhand smoke, including aerosol emitted from electronic cigarettes, which cannot be filtered out via ventilation systems. Currently, only 32.7 percent of Kentuckians are protected by comprehensive smoke-free laws, the Coalition said.

The Coalition also is working to educate the public and health care providers about cessation resources and ensuring effective implementation of a new law that requires insurance to pay for tobacco-cessation programs.

Leaders of companies and organizations who would like to join the Coalition can do so on the website. For more information, contact Angela Koch, akoch@healthy-ky.org, 502-326-2583.

About the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow
The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow is committed to its mission of improving Kentucky's health by protecting Kentuckians from secondhand smoke and other tobacco emissions, and by reducing the high rate of smoking and tobacco use in the Commonwealth. For more information, please visit www.smokefreetomorrow.org.

Coalition founding partners include the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Baptist Health Kentucky, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Council of Churches, Kentucky Voices for Health, and Kentucky Youth Advocates. Other partners and members of the Coalition represent a broad array of groups including Kentucky business leaders, health advocates, health care providers and payers, educators, and faith community leaders. See entire list on the Coalition website.

Media Contacts:
Bonnie J. Hackbarth
bhackbarth@healthy-ky.org 
877-326-2583 (Office)
502-552-3770 (Mobile)

Angela Koch
akoch@healthy-ky.org 
877-326-2583 (Office)
502-759-2171 (Mobile)