State lawmakers are anticipated to file a tobacco-control invoice subsequent 12 months. Healthcare advocacy teams and native elected officers say communities should have the precise to implement their very own, stronger smoke-free protections.
Since 1996, Kentucky and a dozen different states have enacted so-called preemption legal guidelines, which bar cities and counties from deciding how tobacco merchandise are marketed, offered and distributed on the native stage.
In the meantime, multiple third of Kentucky college students report the pandemic has elevated their use of e-cigarettes and vapes. McCracken County highschool scholar Katharine Morrison mentioned she sees her buddies counting on tobacco to deal with stress and isolation through the COVID-19 disaster.
“I really feel like folks used it extra as a result of they have been depressed they usually thought that it was serving to them,” mentioned Morrison.
Kentucky’s charges of tobacco use are among the many highest within the nation, and lawmakers have responded by implementing a statewide tobacco-free faculty coverage, growing tobacco taxes and elevating the authorized minimal age to purchase tobacco merchandise to 21.
The tobacco and vaping industries and a few retailers proceed to oppose native management, arguing it hurts gross sales and unbiased companies.
Mayor of Prestonsburg Les Stapleton mentioned he’d like the chance to implement measures to cut back smoking and enhance the well being of residents in his group.
“And I perceive that lots of legal guidelines need to be statewide,” mentioned Stapleton. “But it surely’s rather a lot simpler for some communities to have the ability to govern themselves on some points.”
State Sen. Paul Hornback – R-Shelbyville – mentioned nicotine dependancy will proceed to be a expensive public well being concern if the cycle of tobacco use amongst younger children is not stopped.
“They usually’re getting their arms on them indirectly and exit and resell them to different children,” mentioned Hornback. “There must be higher management on that, . The flavors and all the things else have to be eradicated.”
In its “2022 Blueprint for Kentucky’s Youngsters,” the group Kentucky Youth Advocates calls on the state to permit metropolis and county governments to manage the show, sale and distribution of tobacco merchandise.
In response to state knowledge, final 12 months, tobacco and e-cigarette corporations spent greater than $788,000 lobbying Kentucky lawmakers.