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Metro Newsroom

City Prepares for New and Improved Smoke-Free Law

Friday June 29, 2007

Effective Sunday, July 1

Mayor Jerry Abramson announced plans today to implement Louisville’s new and improved smoke-free law that will go into effect on Sunday, July 1st. Virtually every public building and workplace in Louisville will now prohibit smoking. This includes many venues not covered by the previous law; including restaurants as well as all bars, Breathe Easybowling alleys, and private clubs.

“Sunday will be an historic day for our community as we implement legislation that will protect present and future generations of Louisvillians from the health effects of secondhand smoke,” Abramson said. “We are a progressive city that puts the well-being of its families, its children, and its workers first.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Public Health and Wellness sent letters to businesses that had not been covered under Louisville’s more limited smoking law that went into effect on November 15, 2005. The letters informed the businesses that they must prohibit smoking in their facilities beginning July 1st. The businesses also received “No Smoking” signs to post in their facilities. Information about the new law and “No Smoking” signs may be downloaded from the city’s web site at

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness will enforce the new law. The mayor’s proposed 2007-08 budget includes funding for two additional inspectors to help with inspections and enforcement.

“Much like the previous law, we expect this law will rely largely on self-enforcement,” Public Health and Wellness Director Dr. Adewale Troutman said.

Dr. Troutman said that citizens who see a person smoking in a public building should ask the person stop. They should also inform the business owner. If this does not yield results, citizens may phone MetroCall at 311 or 574-5000 to register a complaint. Business owners may also phone the police if a patron continues to smoke and fails to leave the premises after being asked to do so. The Department of Public Health and Wellness Department has received 879 complaints and has issued about 60 citations under the old smoking ban.

Brightside is also working with business owners to educate them of the importance of placing receptacles outside of restaurants and bars for the proper disposal of cigarette butts. Improperly disposed cigarettes are litter and can pose a fire hazard.

City officials were joined by representatives of American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Greater Louisville Medical Society, and Seven Counties Services.

“We have said that we want to make Louisville a healthier place to live, play and work. No other action could say more about our community’s promise to make this happen,” said Mary Ann Sanders of the American Heart Association.

“On Sunday, physicians in Louisville will be smiling because fewer lungs in this community will be breathing in the more than 4,000 potentially cancer-causing chemicals, toxic metals, and poison gases released by secondhand smoke,” said Dr. Robert Powell of the Greater Louisville Medical Society.

The city is also offering smoking cessation classes to help residents shake the tobacco habit.

“Now is the time for residents to stop smoking - for their health and for the health of their families and friends,” Abramson said. The classes combine the use of nicotine replacement classes with group support. For more information or to sign up, phone 574-STOP.