Today, the Kentucky Senate took the final legislative step necessary to pass a tobacco-free schools bill, voting 28-10 to approve House Bill 11. The bill now heads to the Governor, who has indicated he will sign it into law. Following is a statement from a group of organizations that actively advocated for the bill this year:
“Kentucky kids won big today, especially those living in many of our rural communities where the majority of schools without tobacco-free policies are located. We put our eggs in this particular basket in 2019 because a statewide tobacco-free schools law is a proven method to keep kids and teens from starting the smoking or e-cigarette habit… a habit that can quickly become an addiction when their young brains are still developing. The bill was critically important this year because of the explosive growth in teen vaping and e-cigarette use.
“When this law goes into effect for the 2020 school year, as many as 275,000 more Kentucky kids will be protected from secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol on Kentucky school campuses. They’ll enjoy healthier air to breathe both during the school day and as they attend sporting events and field trips. The message to avoid tobacco will get daily reinforcement in every Kentucky community with signage reminding visitors, staff, and students that Kentucky schools are no place for smoking, vaping, dipping, chewing or any other kind of tobacco use.
“We are tremendously grateful to the advocates who have joined us in working on this issue for years, and to Rep. Kim Moser and Sen. Ralph Alvarado for their dogged work to shepherd the tobacco-free schools bill through the legislature. We look forward to working with school boards to make adoption of this policy as straightforward as possible. And we vow to continue our efforts to educate youth, parents, educators and others about the health dangers of e-cigarettes, vapes and other tobacco products, especially for our children.”