By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
The House Health and Family Services Committee passed legislation Thursday that prohibits tobacco use on school property.
House Bill 11, sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser, would prohibit the use of any tobacco product, alternative nicotine product or vapor product on school grounds, in school vehicles, or in other vehicles while on school property. The bill would also prohibit use of these products by school personnel, students and volunteers during school-related trips and activities.
In the committee meeting, Rep. Moser said the 42 percent of schools in Kentucky have already implemented such policies but it is time to “stop addiction where it starts” and implement it statewide. Moser explained that the policy would leave consequences and implementation up to the local school districts.
Proponents of tobacco-free school legislation discussed the dangers of cigarettes and new e-cigarettes including JUUL pods and stated the high risk factor begins at age of first use and said it is more likely to lead to abuse of other drugs.
A Kentucky high school student also testified about the prevalent use he has seen with smoking starting from middle school and asked legislators to “please do something,” adding there is no way it could impact anything in a negative way.
The Senate also has a companion tobacco-free schools bill, Senate Bill 27 sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado.
Tobacco-free schools legislation has received bipartisan support from groups such as the Kentucky Chamber, Kentucky Medical Association, Kentucky School Board Association, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, etc. Learn more about that support here.
House Bill 11 was placed on consent and now moves to the full House.