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Kentucky Senate Backs Smoke Free School Campuses

Natalia Zhigareva/123rf Stock Photo

The Kentucky senate voted Wednesday to make all public school campuses tobacco free. Local control questions were raised during the floor debate.

Bill Sponsor Ralph Alvarado told senators Kentucky’s youth smoking rate is higher than the national average for adult smokers. The Winchester doctor was asked about having tobacco products in a vehicle on school grounds.

“This is a campus wide tobacco free policy," Alvarado said. "It would be up to the local to develop that policy and enforcement. As to what those punishments would be, it would be up to a local school board as well.”

Floyd County Senator Johnny Ray Turner passed on the vote. As a long time high school basketball coach, Turner said he never allowed his players to smoke. But he said such a policy could negatively affect revenues when fans are banned from using tobacco products anywhere near sporting events.

“You’re going to cut down on the revenue to the schools to help provide the extracurricular activities that we have for some of our students and those things,” Turner said.

Alvarado said such a policy could help reduce the likelihood of a lifelong addiction to smoking. He said currently 36% of Kentucky school districts feature tobacco free campuses. Alvarado said tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death.

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