Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy honors communities, groups and individuals who help create smoke-free communities

The Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy at the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Program honored communities, groups and individuals from across the state who are leading the way to enact smoke- and tobacco-free policies at the 2024 Kentucky Tobacco Control Conference held April 23-24 in Lexington.

“While tobacco use has decreased across the general population, disparities persist by geographic location, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, and mental health status,” Amanda Bucher, director of tobacco policy research and outreach in the College of Nursing at UK, said in a news release. “This is in part due to the tobacco industry’s targeted marketing of these populations. Our vision for a tobacco-free Kentucky must promote health equity and eliminate these disparities.”

Sydney Shaffer, a high-school student from Scott County, received the Smoke-free Youth Advocate Award for excellence in promoting smoke-free policy and education about secondhand smoke. Shaffer has advocated for lung-health policies and youth-vaping prevention since losing her grandfather to lung cancer. She has spoken to policymakers about the importance of tobacco control policies at the local, state and national levels.

The Northern Kentucky towns of Corinth and Highland Heights received the Everette Varney Smoke-free Indoor Air Excellence Award for their “exceptional leadership” and collaborative efforts in promoting the health of their citizens by enacting comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinances.

Dr. Timothy W. Mullett, medical director of UK’s Markey Cancer Center Network, received the Lee T. Todd Jr., Smoke-free Hero Award for his courage, leadership, perseverance, and continuous commitment to smoke- and tobacco-free environments in the face of adversity.

Centre College received the Tobacco Free Campus Award for its exceptional leadership and collaborative efforts in promoting healthy campus environments by implementing a tobacco-free campus last year.

Jelaine Harlow, health-education coordinator for the Lake Cumberland District Health Department, received the Ellen J. Hahn Lifetime Achievement in Tobacco Control Award for an exceptional life devoted to leadership in advocacy and public service contributions in tobacco control.

Jessica L. Burris, UK Department of Psychology and Markey Cancer Center received the Timothy W. Mullett M.D. Lung Cancer Prevention Award for her leadership, devotion, and passion toward preventing lung cancer through policy change in tobacco control.

Dr. Michael Gieske, diredctor of lung-cancer screening at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Northern Kentucky, received the David B. Stevens M.D. Smoke-free Advocate of the Year Award for excellence in promoting secondhand smoke education and smoke-free policy.

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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