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Tobacco-Free Order Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please check back frequently, as the FAQs will be updated throughout the implementation period.  

Q. Why did state government implement a tobacco-free order?
A. As a leader in health care and in keeping with the goals set forth by kyhealthnow, The Commonwealth of Kentucky is making a commitment to provide a healthy environment for state employees and property visitors, while targeting Kentucky's high rate of tobacco use.  Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 443,000 people die prematurely each year from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking.  Each year, diseases caused by smoking alone cost the nation $96 billion in health care costs. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco and secondhand smoke, even when outdoors.  By implementing the tobacco-free order, Kentucky state government will lead the way in helping to create a healthier place to live and work. 

Q. When will the tobacco-free order take effect?
A. The tobacco-free order will become effective on November 20, 2014, the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout Day.  From September 4, 2014, the date the tobacco-free order was initially announced, through November 20, 2014, state government is undertaking an implementation period where agencies are working together to ready the workforce.

Q. What does tobacco-free mean?

A. The tobacco-free order prohibits smoking and the use of tobacco products (including cigarettes, chew, cigars, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products) on all state property.  This includes all buildings, grounds, parking lots, sidewalks, in state vehicles, and in personal vehicles on state properties controlled by the Finance and Administration Cabinet.

Q. Who is covered by the tobacco-free order?
A. Anyone on state properties, including employees and the general public.

Q. Can I use tobacco in my car?
A. No. Smoking is not permitted on state property, which includes state parking lots.  If your automobile is on the property, you are not permitted to use tobacco in your car.  However, employees may keep their tobacco products in their vehicle.

Q. How do I know if I am located on state property?
A. Maps for the state's largest properties are provided below and will help to indicate state boundaries.  Individuals who wish to use tobacco must do so off state property.  Those who choose to use tobacco outside of state property boundaries are asked to be considerate of private businesses and homes by properly disposing of tobacco materials and limiting others' exposure to tobacco.

State Property Maps

300 Sower Building
Berry Hill

Bush & Vest Lindsey House
Capital Tower Complex
Capitol Campus
Central Lab & PSC
CHR, Jones & Cold Harbor Buildings

Coffee Tree Road
First City Complex
Fleet Garage (Barrett Ave)
History Center & Barstow House
L & N Building - Louisville
Mayo Underwood Building
Old Capitol Campus
Old Governor's Mansion
Postal Services & Transportation (Wilkinson Blvd)
State Office Bldg & Surrounding Area
Surplus Properties
Transportation Cabinet

Q. What has been done to help tobacco users?
A. A number of resources are available to help tobacco users quit or reduce their use at tobacco-free.ky.gov.  Resources include information from the Kentucky Employees' Health Plan LivingWell program and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, both of whom have offered tobacco cessation programs and resources to state employees, health plan members, and the public for many years.

Q. Do I have to quit smoking or stop using tobacco?
A. The tobacco-free order is not about punishing the tobacco-user; it is about maintaining a healthy environment and protecting workers and visitors from the harmful effects of exposure to tobacco.  Employees are required to abide by the tobacco-free order and refrain from tobacco use on state property.   Tobacco users are encouraged to seek tobacco cessation resources by visiting, tobacco-free.ky.gov.

Q. What can I do to help others quit smoking?
A. Quitting is very difficult and often requires the support of your friends, co-workers, and family.  Anyone may access the quit resources at tobacco-free.ky.gov, to find the right approach for you or for someone you hope to help quit.

Q. What action will be taken if I continue to use tobacco on the premises of state property?
A. Once again, the tobacco-free order is not about punishing the tobacco-user; it is about maintaining a healthy environment and protecting workers and visitors from the harmful effects of exposure to tobacco.  Employees who do not adhere to the tobacco-free order will be subject to disciplinary action. The tobacco-free corrective action level will be determined, like the violation of all other current state employee policies and laws, by the progressive discipline process. 

Q. When will more information be available about the tobacco-free order?
A.  The new tobacco-free.ky.gov website will be the primary resource for new information on the tobacco-free order.  State employees can also expect to receive communications about the availability of tobacco cessation resources, and additional information from their agency human resource office throughout the implementation period.

Q. What are my responsibilities if I see someone smoking on state property?
A. You may politely offer information to the person committing the violation as if they did not know about the policy.  "Hello, perhaps you didn't realize this is a tobacco-free property.  Tobacco use is no longer permitted on state property."  If you need further guidance, please contact the building front desk staff, the security officer, or if you are an employee, please talk with your supervisor.

Q.  Will employees be provided longer breaks in order to use tobacco off state property?   (new 10/14/2014)
A.  No.  All employees are expected to comply with the established lunch and rest break schedules.

Q.  Why does the tobacco ban include e-cigarettes?   (new 10/14/2014)
A.  Although e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, many contain nicotine.  Vapor produced from these devices can release nicotine, chemicals and other tobacco related contaminants, which can adversely impact bystanders.  Several recent studies indicate that the use of e-cigarettes increases the likelihood that the user will smoke regular cigarettes, particularly if the user is a teenager.

Q.  What if I have specific questions about my workplace and the map is not included within these FAQs?   (new 10/14/2014)
A.  If you have specific questions about your office, please contact your HR administrator. 

Q.  Does the tobacco ban apply to contractors the same way it applies to state employees?   (new 10/14/2014)
A.  Yes.  The tobacco ban applies to all individuals in the same manner.  All employees, contractors, and the general public are expected to comply with the tobacco ban as outlined.

Q.  Does the tobacco-free policy apply to nicotine replacement products, such as nicotine gum or nicotine patches?    (new 11/06/2014)
A.  No. The tobacco-free policy prohibits the use of tobacco, tobacco products, and electronic cigarettes or vaping devices.