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Tobacco-Free Signs Available to All KY Schools

A new law in Kentucky mandates that all school districts become tobacco-free by July 1, 2020. (Adobe Stock)
A new law in Kentucky mandates that all school districts become tobacco-free by July 1, 2020. (Adobe Stock)
August 26, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Tobacco-free signs are now available to Kentucky schools at no charge, provided by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Kentucky Medical Association.

Foundation CEO Ben Chandler says the signs will help schools comply with a recent law mandating that all school campuses go tobacco-free by July 1, 2020.

"This is a landmark law, really, in Kentucky, because it's the first time there's been a requirement that schools be tobacco-free,” Chandler states. “And the reason that it's important is of course that we've got the highest cancer rate in the country, and we also have nearly the highest smoking rate in the country and smoking leads to cancer in many cases."

School districts can order metal signs for school entrances and outdoor sports venue fencing, as well as window decals for entrance doors and buses.

Across Kentucky, 132 school districts now have instituted tobacco-free policies. Visit tobaccofreestudents.org for more information.

Dr. Bruce Scott, president of the Kentucky Medical Association, says nearly 90% of adult smokers began using tobacco before the age of 18.

"As physicians, we see the impact of cigarettes and tobacco use every day on our patients, whether it's pulmonary disease or, for me, I see people with sinus infections and ear diseases, or even the more devastating effects of cancer," he states.

Chandler points out that signs can play a critical role in helping to alter public behavior.

"We have heard from schools all across the state, the ones that have done it on their own previously, that these signs make a huge difference in enforcement and compliance because you don't have to confront somebody, you can just nod your head at the sign and say, 'Look,'” he says.

Signed by Gov. Matt Bevin earlier this year, House Bill 11 prohibits the use of all tobacco products on school campuses and in school vehicles. The legislation also prohibits tobacco use by school officials on field trips.

Disclosure: Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Health Issues, Smoking Prevention, Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - KY