KY Counties Seek Local Control of Tobacco Marketing, Sales

Jan 18, 2021

Counties across Kentucky say smoking and vaping are hurting their local economies and people's health, and they're fighting for the ability to pass local laws about the marketing and sale of tobacco products.

A dozen states, including Kentucky, have laws on the books preempting local tobacco ordinances.

Betsy Clemons, executive director of the Hazard Perry County Chamber of Commerce, said that's a problem, and pointed to the huge financial toll taken by smoking and vaping on eastern Kentucky communities.

Lexington Knocking Tobacco Out of the Park

Apr 3, 2018
Navan Rajagopalan, Flickr

A Kentucky city is knocking tobacco out of the park, quite literally. All ballparks in Lexington including the home of the Lexington Legends minor league baseball team are becoming completely tobacco-free.

Team CEO Andy Shea says Major League Baseball has made great strides in severing the link between America's Greatest Pastime and tobacco, and he's proud to be one of the first minor league facilities to step up to the plate.

Community Leadership Program graduates address tobacco use in high school students in Appalachia

Sep 4, 2017
Kentucky Office of Rural Health

Lifelong habits of tobacco use often begin during one’s teenage years.

For Kentucky, this reality is particularly concerning, as the rate of tobacco use among Kentucky high school students is well above the national average — 35.8 percent compared with 20.2 percent. This includes all forms of tobacco, from cigarettes to vapes to chewing tobacco, though the rate of high school smoking in the Commonwealth is about double the national average (16.8 percent versus 8 percent).

Tobacco Marketing Blows Away Prevention Efforts in Kentucky

Dec 31, 2015

Kentucky is spending $2.5 million this year on tobacco prevention, 36th in the nation, according to a new report.

But, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reveals tobacco companies are blowing that effort away spending an estimated $292.8 million on marketing their products in the state.

Amy Barkley is the Campaign's Mid-Atlantic Region Director in Kentucky.

"That is about 117 or 118 times more money than we, the state, spend to discourage smoking among kids and to help smokers quit," says Barkley. "So, it's really penny wise and pound foolish."

Big Sandy Community and Technical College

Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) has received a grant from the American Legacy Foundation to help it implement a 100% Tobacco-Free college policy.

Effective July 1, 2015, all BSCTC campuses will be 100% tobacco-free. 

John Herald, director of facilities at BSCTC, said the policy will enhance the health and wellness of students, employees and visitors to the college.

“The college supports healthy lifestyles and understands that this policy may provide difficulty to some of our employees, students and visitors,” said Herald.

Kids Toiling in America's Tobacco Fields

Nov 21, 2014
Marcus Bleasdale and Human Rights Watch

Children half the smoking age are reportedly laboring in tobacco fields across the burley belt. It’s hard to tell how many or how old they are, but one study found one in 10 working in North Carolina's tobacco is younger than 18.

Baldemar Velasquez, president of the AFL-CIO's Farm Labor Organizing Committee, says the pattern is similar in Kentucky.

He says children work to help their families get by, typically starting in their early teens, but sometimes much younger.

Kentucky Receives Tobacco Settlement Funds

Jun 12, 2014
Learn NC

Kentucky will receive about $110 million from an agreement between the state and tobacco companies over the state’s alleged mishandling of tobacco settlement funds.

An arbitration court ruled last year that Kentucky and five other states mishandled their management of the tobacco funds beginning in 2003. The funds have been paid by tobacco companies since 1998 to shore up state health-care costs associated with tobacco usage.

EKU Goes Tobacco Free

May 29, 2014

Beginning Monday, June 2nd, Eastern Kentucky University becomes tobacco-free system wide.  EKU’s main campus in Richmond and extended sites in Corbin, Danville, and Manchester will go smoke, chewing and snuff-free next week.

Tobacco Free Task Force Co-Chair Jack Rutherford says the current policy prohibits smoking within 25 feet of any window or entrance.  He says signs are going up around the perimeter of campus to signal a completely tobacco free status. 

E-Cigarette Bill Passed By House Committee

Feb 19, 2014
NY Times

The Licensing and Occupations Committee in the Kentucky House has approved a bill classifying electronic cigarettes as a tobacco product and prohibiting their sale to minors.

The sponsor of the legislation is Democratic State Representative Joni Jenkins of Jefferson County, who says e-cigarettes contain nicotine and cancer-causing toxins.

However, they don’t include tobacco. That was a problem for some opponents of the measure.

Statewide Smoking Ban Support Grows

Jan 2, 2014
The Guardian

A recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll shows that a majority of Kentuckians support a statewide smoking ban. 

The poll released today (January 2) from the non-profit Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky shows 65 percent of Kentucky adults favor a statewide smoke-free law. The new numbers are up 6 points from last year, and 17 points from four years ago.

Kentucky Corn Production Sees Growth

Aug 18, 2013

By and large, most Kentucky corn producers are experiencing a much better year compared to last summer.  Drought conditions wiped out many corn fields across western Kentucky.  With steady rains in 2013, University of Kentucky Agricultural Economist Will Snell says it’s been a different story.

Tobacco Diversification Needs

Aug 6, 2013

A Bath County farmer who has just been re-appointed to Kentucky’s Agricultural Development Board says more of the state’s tobacco settlement money should be spent in the eastern and central parts of the state. Betty Bailey serves on the 15-member panel that decides on applications for use of the funds.

She says too many farmers from her region are having difficulty transitioning from tobacco to alternative crops…

MCTC Bans Tobacco

Aug 2, 2013

Maysville Community and Technical College (MCTC) has become the latest school to adopt a tobacco-free policy. Jessica Kern is Director of Marketing and Public Relations at MCTC. She says this change reflects a growing desire among students and visitors…