Bills Filed in Both Chambers
The encouraging news is that Rep. Kim Moserand Sen. Ralph Alvarado, chairs of the health committees in their respective legislative chambers, have filed companion bills (House Bill 11 and Senate Bill 27) to make all Kentucky K-12 schools 100 percent tobacco-free beginning July 1, 2020.
Currently, 58 percent of Kentucky students are protected from exposure to tobacco products while at school or engaged in school activities (see map.)
The law would extend that protection to all Kentucky students at all times on – or in – property owned by the school district. This would include school and district buildings, athletic fields, and parking lots (thus, smoking and other tobacco use would be prohibited in cars parked on campus). It also would include buses and other district-owned or district-leased vehicles. The bill links the comprehensive definition of tobacco products to current statute, and covers cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vapes, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products. It would not prohibit the use of nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches or gum, used by those trying to quit smoking.
The bill has been assigned to Rep. Moser’s committee in the House – a very good sign that it has momentum this year. Legislation needs to be passed by the House before the Senate will move forward.
Additional support for the law this year over prior years comes from the Kentucky School Boards Association and the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, both key to helping legislators understand that implementation and enforcement of the law is very workable. In addition, the explosive growth in teen use of e-cigarettes makes the legislation extremely timely.
What can you do?
- Join us at the campaign launch on Jan. 22.
- Call, write or visit your legislator and ask them to support HB11 and SB 27.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in support of tobacco-free schools.