Whitley Co. school superintendent hopes legislation will curb school vaping

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WKYT) – Alarmed at the growing use of e-cigarettes in schools, an eastern Kentucky school superintendent is pinning his hopes on a bill headed to the Senate that will crack down on them and other tobacco products.

Photo: WKYT/Phil Pendleton

Williamsburg City Schools is one of the 99 school districts in Kentucky that bans the use of tobacco products on school grounds, but Superintendent Amon Couch says he knows some students can get around that by turning to vaping. He also says while students can vape more discreetly, the effects are just as harmful, if not more so, than actually lighting up a cigarette.

The age of students turning to vapes is also a concern for Couch.

“If you look at the nationwide trend,” Couch says, “children as early as 5th or 6th grade are beginning to do it.”

Couch is optimistic that House Bill 11 would address the problem, banning smoking, vaping and all other uses of tobacco on school campuses. The bill easily passed Tuesday by a vote of 85-11. With only 3 days left in the session, its fate is not certain in the Senate.

Despite reports of young people in Whitley County using vapes with marijuana-infused liquids, Couch says he has not confiscated any from Williamsburg City Schools, but says the local police department is assisting the district in raising awareness of the problems of all kinds of vaping.

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