Bevin Signs Tobacco-Free Schools Bill into Law: Effective July 1, 2020
The tobacco-free schools bill is now the law in Kentucky. By July 1, 2020, the use of all tobacco products will be prohibited 24/7 on K-12 campuses and in vehicles owned or operated by school districts.
"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," said a statement from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Ken-tucky Youth Advocates, the Kentucky Chamber, the Kentucky School Boards Association and the Kentucky Cancer Foundation.
The law exempts adults on school field trips when they're not with students. This language was not in the original bill supported by the Coalition, but was adopted along with a three-year opt-out provision to get the bill voted on by the Kentucky House. The bill was in danger of dying after languishing for five weeks following unanimous passage by the House Health and Family Services Committee.
The good news is that the law allows schools to adopt tobacco-free policy that is stronger than the state law, meaning that they can adopt the recommended best practice provision of prohibiting adult smoking 24/7 including during field trips.
"We had the support we needed, but without these compromises, the House would never have had the opportunity to vote," said Ben Chandler, chair of the Coalition and president/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "We're grateful to Rep. Kim Moser for fighting hard to find a way to get the bill out of the House so the Senate could approve it and it could be sent to Gov. Bevin."
The bill was led by Rep. Moser in the House and Sen. Ralph Alvarado in the Senate.
Other Tobacco Control Bills Failed This Year
A bill to raise the minimum legal age for tobacco sales from 18 to 21 in Kentucky failed to pass the General Assembly this year, as did a bill to add a statewide excise tax on e-cigarettes. Both topics may be the subject of bills introduced again in the 2020 General Assembly, and Coalition members will work with lawmakers to address some troublesome provisions. Another bill to remove the protected status class for smokers, which prohibits employers from discriminating against smokers, also failed.
FDA Investigating Seizures Following E-Cig Use
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating several dozen reports that e-cigarette users have suffered seizures, and a slight uptick in these reports since 2014, signalling a "potential emerging safety issue." Seizures are a known potential side effect of nicotine toxicity. The e-cigarettes that many youth are using, including the Juul and copycat brands, contain high levels of nicotine. Dr. Pat Withrow, community outreach director for Baptist Health Paducah who does presentations on the dangers of teen vaping throughout Western Kentucky, notes that some students have told him they can consume an entire pod in as few as three puffs. Each Juul pod contains as much tobacco as an entire pack of 20 cigarettes.
Teen Smoking Declining More Slowly in Rural U.S.
Rural teens are 50 percent more likely to smoke cigarettes than teens living in urban settings, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health. One of the reasons may be that tobacco-control policies are less common in rural areas than in urban areas. That's true in Kentucky: Southeast Kentucky counties have the highest adult smoking rates but most counties do not have tobacco-free schools laws or smoke-free laws. The study did note that teen smoking continues to decline. In Kentucky, high school smoking has dropped from 18.4 percent in 2003 to 4.9 percent in 2017. See more.
More than 29 billion Cigarettes Sold in U.S. in 2017
The largest U.S. tobacco companies spent $8.65 billion promoting cigarettes in 2017, and sold more than 29 billion. Manufacturers spent $718.3 million promoting smokeless tobacco products, and sold nearly 131 million pounds valued at $4.2 billion. See more. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is required to issue these reports annually. No similar requirement exists for e-cigarettes.
Partner and Member News
McConnell Announces Plan to Introduce "Tobacco 21" Bill
Coalition Chair and Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky CEO Ben Chandler joined U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, Sen. Julie Raque Adams and Rep. Kim Moser as McConnell announced plans to file a bill in the U.S. Senate to raise the legal sales age for tobacco from 18 to 21 in May. See Foundation statement here.
Smoke-Free Community Workshop in Madisonville
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky will host a workshop for communities looking to enact smoke-free workplace laws on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The workshop is free, but advance registration is required and space is limited. The workshop is part of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky's Health for a Change training series.
Oldham County Schools Go Tobacco-Free
Tobacco use will prohibited on campus and during field trips for all Oldham County Schools beginning July 1, 2019. The school board unanimously voted in favor of the new policy March 25.
E-Cigs Account for Highest Percentage of Tobacco Product Sales to Minors in Kentucky
More than 14 percent of illegal tobacco product sales to minors in Kentucky were for e-cigarettes, the highest category; 10.6 percent were for wales of smokeless tobacco and 8 percent were for cigarettes. See more in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services' annual report on tobacco sales to minors.
Job Openings in the KentuckyTobacco Prevention and Cessation Program
The Kentucky Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program in the Department for Public Health has three open positions, one of which closes today. The positions, all grade 15, are focused on youth prevention, secondhand smoke and the state Quitline (the latter closes today). Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in applying.
Tobacco-Free Kids Lauds Comprehensive E-cig Bill
A federal bill that would prohibit flavored-tobacco products that appeal to kids - including flavored e-cigarettes, flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes- has gained
praise from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK). The "Reversing The Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019" also would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age 21, prohibit online sales of tobacco products, and extend current tobacco advertising restrictions to e-cigarettes, among other provisions. The bill was introduced by Reps. Frank Pallone and Donna Shalala. "The bill provides the comprehensive strategy we need to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic that is sweeping across our country and to continue driving down youth tobacco use," said CTFK president Matthew Myers.
Members/Partners in the News
McConnell proposes raising minimum age to buy tobacco products, citing vaping epidemic
Kentucky Communities Take Part in 'Kick Butts Day' March 20
Ban on tobacco products at public schools passes House, heads to Senate
It's time to make Kentucky schools tobacco free and address youth vaping epidemic
County Health Rankings released; rural counties increasingly struggle with housing, which affects health
KY Lawmakers Balk at Making School Campuses Tobacco-Free
Students key to moving toward a clean air campus
Statewide tobacco-free-schools bill finally passes, and the governor is expected to sign it into law, effective July 1, 2020
Oldham County Schools becomes a tobacco-free district
No Smoking or Vaping: Kids are Learning Advocates Celebrate Passage of Tobacco-Free Schools Bill
Casey Foundation 10-year data snapshot shows KY making progress but still lags on foster care
#iCANendthetrend Aims to Combat E-Cigarette Use in Kentucky's Youth
Former Kentucky AG urges school districts to immediately enforce vaping ban
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