Can Kentucky School Tobacco Ban Curb E-Cig Use?
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Health groups are optimistic legislation moving through the statehouse will help curb the burgeoning use of e-cigarettes among Kentucky teens.
HB 11 is advancing through the House, and if passed, will create a statewide policy prohibiting tobacco and nicotine use at K-12 schools. Mayfield High School senior Jake Petty said that includes e-cigarettes, also known by the brand name "Juuls," which are easy to conceal.
"A teacher couldn't leave a room and not have five people whip out their Juuls and start vaping," Petty said.
Franklin County Schools implemented a tobacco-free policy in 2011, which Superintendent Mark Kopp said has drastically reduced use on school campuses and at sporting events.
"There are no secondhand smoke issues," Kopp said. "And if there ever is someone who's using those products, this policy gives us the teeth to enforce that and put an end to that."
About 9-in-10 adults in the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll supported tobacco-free school policies in their communities. Under current laws, 58 percent of Kentucky K-12 students are not protected by such a policy.
Petty said Kentucky already has the highest lung cancer rate in the country, and believes school personnel need to model healthy behavior to help reduce the trend of smoking and vaping.
"E-cigarettes are basically nicotine dispersal systems. That leaves a lot of danger for students who are juuling now to eventually go back to combustible tobacco products, and then we're stuck in the cancer cycle," he said.
Smoking rates among teens have declined, while e-cigarette use has skyrocketed. Kopp contended it's one of the most significant health issues of the day.
"This is something that is scary because it's happening everywhere," Kopp said. "And we need to do everything in our power as adults to educate our kids on the dangers of what this is."
HB 11 would not apply to possession of tobacco or nicotine products, and enforcement would vary among school districts. Similar legislation was proposed in 2017 but never came up for a vote.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
A bill moving through the Kentucky Legislature would make fluoride treatment in drinking water optional for local municipalities. House Bill 141 …
Most teenagers eagerly anticipate turning 16 to start driving and 21 for other milestones, but the significance of obtaining the right to vote at 18 …
New York state lawmakers have appointed members to the Community Commission on Reparations Remedies, created through legislation Gov. Kathy Hochul …
A new report argued many charitable foundations need to examine the origin of their wealth and repair harms done. The National Committee for …
A proposed urban reforestation program in Massachusetts aims to help cities mitigate the effects of climate change. Legislation would create a state …
A Wyoming nonprofit is helping single mothers climb out of poverty by connecting them with the training and support they need to step into and succeed…
Ahead of Super Tuesday, a new poll finds a majority of Mainers support replacing the Electoral College system with a national popular vote. More …
Even though March is barely underway, parents of Wisconsin kids are being encouraged to plan for summer reading activities - especially if their …