Tobacco free policies credited with decline
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 27, 2016) — Only 16.9 percent of Kentucky high school students smoke, down from 26.2 percent 10 years ago, according to the 2015 Kentucky Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Officials from the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) attribute the decrease, in part, to its tobacco free school policies, which encourage districts to create campus environments where tobacco and alternative nicotine products are strictly prohibited.
Currently, 35 percent of school districts across the state are tobacco free and many more school systems are considering adopting the policy.
“School districts want to hear from their peers and hear from colleagues who have gone through the process already,” said Elizabeth Anderson-Hoagland, youth policy analyst with the Kentucky Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program in DPH. “By demonstrating that others have successfully adopted the policy and experienced positive results, we are able to encourage more school administrators to consider going tobacco free.”
Some schools have initiated 100% Tobacco Free School policies, which prohibit tobacco, including alternative nicotine products and vapor products as defined by KRS 438.310, use by staff, students and visitors 24 hours a day, seven days a week, inside board-owned buildings or vehicles, on school owned property, and during school-related student trips. DPH credits such policies can with reducing youth smoking by up to 30 percent.