Bill that would ban tobacco products from school grounds heads to Senate

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) – With just two days left in the session, Thursday marks the last day for lawmakers to pass legislation and still have time to override any possible vetoes that may come from Governor Matt Bevin.

One issue that is gaining traction in Frankfort, is a bill that seeks to ban tobacco products from Kentucky schools.

House Bill 11 is still moving, getting a needed committee hearing. Now, the bill just needs approval by the full Senate to get to the Governor’s desk.

The bill aims to prohibit all tobacco products, including vaping products and e-cigarettes, from school property. Advocates say the bill is needed because of the uptick nationally in teens using tobacco products, particularly vaping. Proponents say the state spends about $2 billion dollars a year on tobacco related illnesses.

If the bill becomes law it would also apply to staff members and visitors. One senator brought up the example of crowded Friday night football games, and questioned how exactly this would be enforced on the parents. Still the bill passed through unanimously

“I’m not convinced kids understand these Juul pods have the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, says Rep. Kim Moser (R – 64th District.) “I'm not convinced teenagers understand what nicotine does to their brains, that it lays the foundation for future addictions.”

The bill did pass with a couple of amendments, mainly to clear up some concern over school trips. This would allow an adult on that trip to use tobacco products when not around a group of students.

The bill will likely go to the full senate on the final day of this legislative session, after the veto period. That means if the Gov. Bevin does choose to not sign it, lawmakers give up their chance to override that decision.

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