On Tuesday, the Smoke-Free Tomorrow coalition held a rally in the Capitol Rotunda urging support for a bill that would prohibit all tobacco use from Kentucky school campuses.
House Bill 11, sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser, and Senate Bill 27, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, would prohibit the use of any tobacco product, alternative nicotine product or vapor product on school grounds, in school vehicles, or in other vehicles while on school property. The bill would also prohibit use of these products by school personnel, students, and volunteers during school-related trips and activities.
“The tobacco-free schools bill we’ve introduced is all about prevention,” Senator Alvarado said, stating that 90% of tobacco use starts before the age of 18. “This is the first step amongst many steps to help us reduce tobacco use in the state, in the Commonwealth.”
The bills enjoy broad support from groups such as the Kentucky Chamber, Kentucky Medical Association, Kentucky School Board Association, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, etc.
While federal law prohibits smoking inside schools that receive federal funding, only 42% of Kentucky public school districts, covering 57% of the state’s public-school students, have adopted 100% tobacco-free policies.
“Tobacco-free schools policies set a healthy example for students by de-normalizing tobacco use at school, where our children and teens spend a third of their waking hours,” Rep. Moser said.
Advocates say passing a statewide tobacco-free school law could stop nearly one in three Kentucky students from smoking.
If passed during the 2019 General Assembly, all school campuses would be required to be tobacco-free by July 1, 2020.