Another School District Goes Tobacco-Free and E-cigarette Free; Efforts Largely Led by Students

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KYFORWARD | KENTUCKY HEALTH NEWS | JUNE 10, 2015

The Webster County school board voted unanimously to make all district property, vehicles and buildings officially tobacco-free, Matt Hughes reports for the Webster County Journal-Enterprise. As in some other school districts, efforts for the ban were largely led by students.

“This is something the YES Youth Council has been working on for years,” said board member Mickey Dunbar, who has worked closely with Youth Empowerment Services. “I think it is very important that we educate our students’ minds and educate them about their bodies.”

The ban will go into effect July 1 and includes all tobacco products, including vapor devices, commonly known as e-cigarettes. It also extends to school-sponsored trips, all sporting events and all school functions.

“I will enjoy being able to walk out of a basketball game without having to navigate a gauntlet of cigarette smoke,” Dunbar told Hughes. “I think this will set a good precedent for the other schools in our area.”

Webster County is in the West Kentucky Coalfield.

The YES Youth Council and its adult sponsor first approached the board last fall, and said that while supportive, the board voiced concerns that the community would not be supportive, especially during ballgames. But since then, Hughes said, board members “have gotten a lot of positive feedback from the community.”

As of May 2015, Kentucky reported 40 tobacco-free school districts, which include 500 individual schools, according to the Tobacco Free Schools Kentucky website. This amounts to 40 percent of Kentucky’s students.

Read the article online.