Tobacco-free school bill passes through committee, will likely be heard on final day of 2019 session

IMG_2338On Thursday, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee passed legislation to prohibit tobacco use on school property.

House Bill 11, sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser, 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.

Rep. Moser said the bill seeks to prohibit tobacco use in schools and on school campuses in order to create a healthy learning environment and explained the policy would leave consequences and implementation up to the local school districts.

The bill was amended in the House to allow local boards of education to opt out of provisions of the bill within three years of the effective date of the law.

The cost to the state of tobacco-related illnesses, Moser said, is $2 billion a year, $600 million of which are Medicaid dollars. Moser said it is important to pass the legislation to show Kentucky cares about student health and stopping addiction where it starts.

House Bill 11 now moves to the full Senate for consideration. Because Thursday is the 29th day of session, the bill would have to pass on the final day of session, March 28, after the veto period.

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