The Senate Education Committee Thursday unanimously approved legislation requiring all Kentucky public schools to be tobacco free . The measure calls for posting “no smoking” signs and developing local school tobacco policies.
Winchester Senator Ralph Alvarado says more than 60 percent of Kentucky schools don’t have any policy regarding smoking on school grounds. State Department of Education School Health and Physical Education Director Jamie Sparks testified in support of the bill.
“Of those that start early, that’s where a lot of adult smoking rates come from as well. So, the earlier we can prevent that, the better we have over time,” said Sparks.
Breathitt County eighth grader Caleb Bates came to Frankfort for a school trip. Although his school is already tobacco free, he said smoking among youth remains a problem.
“I definitely think they need to stop because it’s a bad habit that some people can’t break eventually, so it’s not a good thing to do.”
Bill Sponsor Alvarado says a statewide smoking ban remains elusive in the general assembly. If this effort to reduce smoking on school grounds proves successful, he envisions the next step to make all government buildings statewide smoke free.