House panel passes bill to ban smoking in public

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Smokers would have fewer places to light up under legislation that was approved by the House Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday.

The measure, supported by Gov. Steve Beshear, bans smoking in public places statewide.

The committee vote came one day after Beshear called on lawmakers in his annual State of the Commonwealth speech to pass the smoking ban.

The second-term Democrat said addiction to tobacco is hurting productivity in Kentucky, jacking up medical costs and killing people.

Beshear said some three dozen cities and counties in Kentucky already have smoking bans. He said people still could light up, just not in places where they'd expose others to secondhand smoke.

The measure now goes to the full House for consideration.

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The legislation is House Bill 190.

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