Bullitt County Smoking Ban Rejected

by Devin Katayama on September 15, 2011

A Bullitt County judge says the county health department’s proposed smoking ban is unlawful, implying the department’s decision to enact the ban was Orwellian.

Judge Rodney Burress writes in his ruling if the health department can decide who smokes where, it could also decide what time individuals could go to bed.

“They said that the powers that the board of health are given was not in fact for them to be big brothers and to regulate people eating candy, or to regulate people eating fried food,” said Swannie Jett, Bullitt County Health Department’s executive director.

But Jett argues the department is not concerned with people who smoke.

“We are looking at regulating a person’s habit that could be considered a public nuisance-affecting another person’s health. So it’s not based on an individual choice, it’s based on that individual choice affecting somebody else’s,’ he said.

Burress’ ruling implies the health department is stepping on the toes of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which would need to introduce any new regulations.

The ruling comes after several Bullitt County cities filed a lawsuit in opposition to the new regulations, which ban smoking in restaurants, bars and certain areas of sporting arenas.

Burress was unavailable for comment. The health department will meet in two weeks to decide its next action, said Jett.

Click here to see a copy of the ruling.

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