Category Archives: Kentucky

Crazy Kentucky politician against smoking ban because of blacks and Obama …wait, what?


I just can’t even wrap my head around this.

A county commissioner in Grayson County, Ky., said he voted against a smoking ban for his county because he isn’t black and he isn’t Obama.

Uh …. what?

OK, here is his actual quote, from Raw Story:

“I asked (county commissioners) if it’s not the role of the government to protect people, then what is the role of the government?” said Tristan Deering, a senior at Grayson County High School.

Gary Logsdon, the county judge-executive, replied with a racist comment that suggested he believed President Barack Obama was a tyrant.

“I’m not black and I’m not Obama — and I’m not making you do anything,” Logsdon said.

Logsdon went on to add:

“And I love blacks and whites,” Logsdon said. “I respect blacks but, you know, I’m not Obama.”

I’m sure the guy loves blacks. I’m sure he really has a lot of black friends. Really. I have no doubt of this, because I’ve never, ever heard racists claim this before.

The poor teen went on to say he was “baffled,” by Logsdon’s comment. Hey, you aren’t alone, kiddo. I really think a lot of right-wingers just so hopelessly have Obama Derangement Syndrome, they can’t stop thinking or talking about him … or blaming him for everything under the sun. That’s all I can really figure here.

Maybe this guy is “Confederate1978” or whatever. This is a guy from Kentucky who trolls stories about smoking bans posting insane comments about government and Obama and blacks (though you can guess what he usually calls blacks, hint … it rhymes with “chiggers.”) The coincidence is actually kind of amazing here. I’ve seen ol’ Confederate’s name pop up in the comments section of many smoking ban stories for years now. I haven’t seen hide nor hair out of the guy for almost a couple of years.

Anyway, the smoking ban vote failed in Grayson County. Grayson County is a fairly rural county in central Kentucky. Despite being a centre of tobacco-growing and having one of the highest smoking rates, there’s actually a number of city and country full-blown smoking bans in Kentucky in places such as Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green.



Tobacco-growing, tobacco-smoking Kentucky leads the nation in cancer rate

Kentucky tobacco farm

Not the least bit surprising, but something to think about when it comes to tobacco control.

This is why people in tobacco control care about the issue; ultimately it comes down to people dying from tobacco.

When most people think of Kentucky, they think of horse country, the Kentucky Derby, and idyllic bluegrass hills. But, there’s a terrible dark side to that bucolic landscape. According to this USA Today story, Kentucky has the dubious distinction of being No. 1 in the nation for having the worst cancer rate. The biggest reason why? Lung cancer. Lung cancer is the third-most common form of cancer in the U.S. (behind breast cancer for women and prostate cancer for men). However, while lung cancer represents about 13 percent of all cancers, it also represents 27 percent of all cancer deaths. That’s the most … by a LOT. Lung cancer kills more people than colon, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancer combined. It continues to be one of the most, if not the most, difficult form of cancer to treat.

According to USA Today, the rate for lung cancer deaths in Kentucky is 50 percent higher than the national average. From the article:

Lung cancer incidence per 100,000 people: 92.4, compared with 60.4 nationally. Mortality per 100,000: 68.8 — around 120 in the hardest-hit Appalachian counties — compared with 45 nationally.

Kentucky smoking rates, by county

Kentucky has a notoriously high smoking rate. It was the highest in the nation until recently, but now it is second highest in the U.S. at 26.5 percent, (only West Virginia is higher) considerably higher than the national average. Kentucky’s smoking rate was over 30 percent as recently as 10 years ago. The national average, according to this article, has dropped all the down to 15.2 percent (I haven’t seen that figure widely reported; I saw 16.8 percent a few weeks ago.). Kentucky also has a higher than normal death rate from breast, colon and cervical cancers. That might be partly attributable to smoking. Kentucky also has a ridiculously low cigarette tax at 60 cents a pack, one of the lowest in the nation.  The national average is over $1.50 a pack. There is also no statewide indoor smoking ban, though several large cities in Kentucky do ban smoking indoors. These factors help to encourage smoking. They really do. Every state that imposes a smoking ban and/or raises its cigarette tax sees its smoking rate go down. Of course, Kentucky just elected a conservative Republican as its governor, so don’t expect a cigarette tax increase any time soon.

From the article

For many years, Kentucky has had a quarter of adults smoking,” said oncologist Dr. Goetz Kloecker, a lung cancer specialist with University of Louisville Physicians. “I have patients who started puffing at 8, 9 and 10 years old…It’s part of the culture.”

Because of that culture, “cigarettes are still cheaper than in other places,” Kloecker added. “If you go to Chicago or New York, there are fewer teenagers starting to smoke. The higher the costs, the lower the smoking rate.”

TOBACCO-farmsGrowing (2)

One of the reasons smoking is so ingrained in the culture is Kentucky is one of the leading tobacco-growing states. Kentucky has a lot fewer tobacco farmers than it once did (wow, there were 56,000 tobacco farms in Kentucky in 1992), but it is still second in the U.S. behind North Carolina in the level of tobacco produced. And in fact, North Carolina and Kentucky absolutely dominate the market with over 70 percent of the tobacco grown in the U.S. coming from those two states. (Interestingly, North Carolina actually has a statewide smoking ban and a relatively low smoking rate for a Southern state at 20.2 percent in 2013 — likely lower than that today.)

Other environmental factors are playing a role. Kentucky has a high level of radon in homes and especially in the Appalachian region, residents have high levels of chromium and arsenic in their systems. (Probably from mining operations and groundwater contamination.).

Other factors are mentioned by USA Today, such as poor health screenings in the state and obesity, but the high smoking rate is the biggest factor, no doubt.

Smoking ban widely supported in tobacco-growing Kentucky


An interesting story. A bill is floating in the Kentucky State Legislature to ban smoking in all bars and restaurants. Kentucky is one of the few states left that doesn’t have a statewide smoking ban.

Now, Kentucky is also the second-highest tobacco-producing state in the U.S. and it also has the highest smoking rate in the nation at roughly 30 percent (Kentucky is the only state left above 30 percent.)

All that being said … a Kentucky Health Issues poll shows that two-thirds of the people in Kentucky favour a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars. Sixty-six percent are in favour and 29 percent are opposed. Wow, in a tobacco-growing state with the highest smoking rate in the state.

I suspect a pretty strong reason there’s such strong support for a statewide smoking ban is most of the larger cities and several other smaller towns in Kentucky already have smoking bans, so people are used to the idea. The three biggest cities in Kentucky — Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green — have had total smoking bans for at least a couple of years. There simply aren’t that many places left in Kentucky where people can smoke indoors, at least in restaurants.

Sure enough, the cities of Louisville (74 percent support) and Lexington (75 percent) had the most support for a statewide ban.

In light of this poll, Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo said it’s time for a House vote on a smoking ban. In previous years, proposed bans have not been able to get out of committee … to be honest, even with such overwhelming public support, there’s no guarantee a proposed ban will get to a House vote this year, not with the money and lobby power of Big Tobacco in Kentucky.

Still, it’s encouraging and interesting how attitudes have changed about public smoking — even in Kentucky.