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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Secondhand Smoke Is 100 Percent Unsafe, 100 Percent of the Time

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, December 21, 2011  
Contact Information:  Beth Fisher or Gwenda Bond, (502) 564-6786, ext. 3101 and 3100  

Editor’s Note: The advertisements can be viewed here

New Ad Campaign Emphasizes Dangers of Secondhand Smoke Exposure

Secondhand cigarette smoke is unsafe and is linked to numerous forms of illness and disease, including asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), heart disease and lung cancer.
That’s why the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is launching its new “Unsafe Campaign” to educate Kentuckians about the dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke and its potential effect on family members, friends, co-workers and passersby. The campaign is entirely federally funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant dollars.

“Secondhand smoke is 100 percent unsafe, 100 percent of the time,” said Steve Davis, M.D., acting commissioner for DPH. “Staying away from secondhand smoke exposure might seem like a no brainer, but our research has taught us that numerous Kentuckians are exposed to its dangerous toxins on a regular basis. We have to get the message out that this is harmful to your health and secondhand smoke should be avoided.”

This week DPH will start running television, billboard and radio advertisements geared at the general public to show the dangers of secondhand smoke – smoke from the burning end of cigarette, cigar or pipe or the exhaled smoke from a smoker. The ads, which will run statewide, highlight the link between secondhand smoke and dangerous illnesses in both adults and children.

Kentucky’s smoking rate remains the second highest in the country with 24.8 percent of the adult population identified as current smokers and secondhand smoke exposure is equally high. For example, according to DPH, 39.5 percent of Kentucky children from the ages of zero to 17 live with someone who smokes – the highest percentage in the country.

Secondhand smoke has become a major public health concern because it contains approximately 4,000 chemicals, many of which are known carcinogens, and is responsible for approximately 3,000 cases of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers each year.

“According to a 2007 Surgeon General’s report, there is no safe amount of secondhand smoke,” said Irene Centers, manager of the health promotions branch in DPH. “What we wanted to accomplish with this campaign is to illustrate places where we’re commonly exposed to secondhand smoke and point out some of the dangers.”

The ads, produced by Louisville-based Doe Anderson, feature individuals being exposed to secondhand smoke in places such as residences and cars and carry the tag line, “Secondhand smoke is 100 percent unsafe, 100 percent of the time.”

Centers emphasized that education plays an important role in the campaign, with the goal aimed at reducing Kentucky’s rate of secondhand smoke exposure and helping people realize the issue isn’t exclusive to smokers.

 “Many people unknowingly put themselves at risk, allowing smoking in their homes and vehicles, or socializing with people while they’re smoking,” said Centers. “We’re trying to put an end to these types of practices.”

The secondhand smoke campaign is another project spearheaded by Kentucky’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation (KTPC) Program, which also works to promote tobacco cessation in youth and adults. Community interventions for tobacco cessation are available through local health departments staffed with tobacco control specialists. In addition, all citizens of Kentucky have access to a toll free quit line (1 800 QUIT NOW) service. 

Similarly, the program provides technical assistance along with the Kentucky Center for Smoke Free Policy at the University of Kentucky to assist communities in seeking smoke-free ordinances.
For more information on KTPC visit or call (502) 564-9358.

Editor’s Note: The advertisements can be viewed here






Last Updated 12/21/2011