The tobacco-free schools bill has passed unanimously out of the Kentucky House Committee on Health and Family Services and is now awaiting action by the full House.
The bill, called House Bill 11, is endorsed by the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow, which comprises more than 180 organizations committed to improving health by reducing tobacco use in Kentucky.
The bill would prohibit tobacco use on, or in, property that is owned or operated by school boards in Kentucky, at all times. Local school boards would determine enforcement.
An amendment has been filed that would exempt adult use when students are not present. Following is a statement from the Coalition, which supports passage of a clean bill, without amendment.
According to the Coalition, a strong tobacco-free schools policy is essential to protect Kentucky’s youth from tobacco. Prohibiting tobacco use would create an environment where tobacco use is not the ”norm.” It would reduce adolescent and teen tobacco use, protect youth from secondhand smoke, aerosol and residue, and provide positive adult role modeling.
Nationwide, one in five high school students and one in seven middle school students now uses a tobacco product.
HB 11, with the proposed amendment, gives local school boards the authority to make decisions about enforcement, such as whether smoking is allowed if students are off campus.
According to the Coalition, “the proposed amendment to allow some to use tobacco on school property is unnecessary, and would result in a weak, ineffective bill.”