According to the results of a recent federal study, teen smoking in Kentucky is on the decline. But, the state's primary public health doctor says there's still plenty of room for improvement.
The Centers for Disease Control report indicates Kentucky fell from first to sixth place nationally in the number of young smokers. The change came over a two year period from 2011 to 2013. The state dropped just over six percent to 17 point nine percent. State Public Health Commissioner Stephanie Mayfield says banning smoking on school grounds contributed to the dip. "When students are on tobacco free campuses, that's very important. We also know that the advertisements from the C-D-C have been effective," said Mayfield.
Mayfield admits there remains work ahead to drive the youth smoking rate down even further. For instance, she says 33 school districts feature tobacco free campuses. Mayfield says there are more than 170 total school districts. She says a ban on e-cigarettes for minors is helping to drive down the smoking rate. "We're trying to reduce exposure to tobacco period, whether it be in the traditional looking cigarettes or in e-cigs. And one unique thing about our legislation is we're banning the sale of e-cigs to minors with nicotine or non-nicotine," explained Mayfield.
Mayfield says increased access to primary care through reform can work to further drive down the number of teenage smokers.