FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — The hot topic Wednesday in Frankfort is vaping and tobacco as state lawmakers discuss a bill meant to reduce smoking rates in Kentucky.
Essentially the proposed bill—Senate Bill 166— would allow city and county governments to create stricter laws surrounding use, sale, display, and distribution of vaping or tobacco products.
Republican Will Schroder introduced the legislation, which is up for discussion Wednesday in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
Kentucky has long had one of the highest tobacco use rates in the nation. In 2020, more than 20% of Kentucky adults reported smoking, compared to 15% nationwide.
Health experts say the pandemic also exacerbated the problem among students. More than a third of middle and high schools surveyed in 2021 say the pandemic increased the use of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.
More than 14% of students also said they believe vaping is safer than traditional cigarettes. According to the survey, Kentucky kids overwhelmingly support giving cities and counties the option to pass laws to reduce tobacco use.
The hearing for SB 166 starts at 10 a.m. Wednesday.