The recent article (Local officials have strong reactions to Churchill changing plans for Ellis Park extension/June 2, 2023) outlines how Churchill Downs Incorporated is pressuring our city to create an exemption in our smoke-free ordinance for the proposed Ellis Park extension facility. As a physician who calls Owensboro home, I am immensely proud of our city commissioner’s unanimous vote to uphold our stance against smoking, in spite of economic pressures.
The State of Kentucky chronically dwells in the lowest decile on almost every tobacco-related health metric. Tobacco use has consistently been identified as a top health concern for our community by health assessments performed by the Health Department and our regional hospital.
Some of the most powerful influences to decrease tobacco use are smoke-free policies like the one our City of Owensboro adopted in 2014. The recent proposal to weaken our policy is preposterous, at a time when we who live in Kentucky should be working harder than ever to improve the health of our community by decreasing tobacco use.
Thank you, Mayor Tom Watson and our City Commissioners, for protecting policies that protect and improve the health of our community.
Jim Tidwell, MD
VP of Population Health