Kentucky’s House of Representatives adopted “tobacco 21” legislation on March 26, 2020; the bill already passed the Senate and will soon be headed to Gov. Beshear’s desk. Senate Bill 56 would conform Kentucky statutes to new federal law raising the legal age to purchase all tobacco products to 21; the bill also would remove status offense and other penalties on youth who purchase, use or possess tobacco products. Following statement is from Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow:

“Today, the Kentucky General Assembly took a crucial step to publicly recognize that tobacco products are extremely harmful, especially for our youth whose developing brains are particularly susceptible to nicotine,” said Ben Chandler, chair of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow, which comprises more than 225 Kentucky organizations working to reduce tobacco use in the Commonwealth. “While smoking among our youth has been declining for decades, e-cigarette use has exploded the past three years. In 2019, more than 53,000 high school students and 27,000 middle schoolers in Kentucky were using e-cigarette, or ‘vaping.’ Removing the penalties is about improving health as well because inserting kids into our judicial system for these types of offenses leads to worse health outcomes. Congratulations to the Kentucky legislature, and to Sen. Ralph Alvarado, for their work to protect our youth from tobacco.” 

Information provided by:

Rich Nading, Tobacco Control Coordinator, Green River District Health Department