School officials: New tobacco bill needed to curb student use of e-cigarettes

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WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - A bill that would ban tobacco use on school campuses in Kentucky passed the House Tuesday.

Some school officials said the law is needed to curb a new type of problem they are running into.

Amon Couch, the superintendent of Williamsburg city schools said tobacco use is banned on this campus, but he says he knows kids are finding ways around it. He said the big problem now is vaping.

"For the first time in a long time in many years, we are starting to see an uptick in tobacco use among teens," said Representative Kim Moser. "We know Kentucky has a real tobacco-related illness problem."

The sponsor of House Bill 11 said they've seen a huge explosion in e-cigarettes and vaping. And what's even more alarming is the age of the kids using these products that health officials say are just as dangerous as regular cigarettes.

"If you look at the nationwide trend, children as early as 5th or 6th grade are beginning to do it," said Couch.

Couch said there are some strict consequences for anyone vaping or using any kind of tobacco but he knows that kids are still using e-cigarettes.

"Yeah, because it is discreet. If you light up a cigarette you instantly see it and smell it, but with a vape, it is more discreet," said Couch.

Similar bills have found favor in the Senate and HB 11's sponsor is hopeful it will pass that chamber. If not, supporters said the success of the bill so far has at least educated people on the problem.

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