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KY House passes 'landmark' smoking ban bill

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Representatives in Kentucky's Democratic-led House Friday voted in favor of a statewide smoking ban in public buildings and most workplaces.

The vote was close, with a final tally of 51-46

The measure isn't a done deal. It heads next to the Republican-led Senate, where it faces an uphill battle. The Senate Majority Leader has said there's not much support there to pass a smoking ban.

The move by the House is a historic first for the commonwealth, which has major ties to the tobacco industry, and also some of the the nation's highest smoking, cancer and heart disease rates, according to the Associated Press.

Public Information Administrator Emily Gresham Wherle says the Northern Kentucky Health Department is encouraged by today's vote.

"This is the first that the Kentucky House has even brought the statewide smoke-free law up for a vote," says Wherle. "It's an important step in reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, which has been shown to cause heart disease, asthma, and cancer."