Nearly 60 KY Municipalities Have Since Passed Smokefree Ordinances

Americans for Nonsmokers Rights

June 30, 2023 | Contact:

Lexington, KY— Advocates gathered this week in Lexington, Kentucky to celebrate 20 years since lawmakers passed a city-wide smokefree ordinance on July 1, 2003. The groundbreaking ordinance was the first of its kind anywhere in the South or Midwest. Nearly 60 Kentucky municipalities, and dozens more across the region, have since adopted their own smokefree ordinances. At the time, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) applauded Lexington for going smokefree in the heart of a tobacco-growing state, becoming a compelling national example that led the way for much of the country.

“We congratulate the community of Lexington on reaching the 20th anniversary of its historic smokefree ordinance,” said Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of ANR. “Lexington’s pioneering smokefree law, the first of its kind in Kentucky, has saved countless lives and significantly improved the health of its citizens. Since its implementation, there has been a reduction in heart attacks, asthma-related emergency department visits, and the smoking rate in Fayette County.

“We commend the City of Lexington, Mayor Linda Gorton, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council, and the many advocates and partners involved in championing and upholding this critical public health legislation. We stand alongside Lexington in celebrating this milestone and remain committed to advocating for smokefree policies that create healthier environments for all Americans.”

After Lexington’s smokefree law took effect, the city experienced a reduction in heart attacks and emergency department visits for asthma, and the smoking rate in Fayette County declined by nearly 32%, resulting in 16,500 fewer smokers for an estimated annual healthcare cost savings of $21 million. In 2009, Lexington’s smokefree law paved the way for the University of Kentucky to adopt a tobacco-free campus to protect the health of students, employees, and visitors.

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ANR Foundation’s sister organization, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for over 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit and