Rockcastle County school board nixes ban on smoking at schools

While more than 30 Kentucky communities have banned smoking in enclosed public places, and about as many school districts have imposed a total ban, many districts remain resistant to the idea. This month the Rockcastle County Board of Education turned down a smoking ban that would have allowed designated smoking areas at athletic events but no smoke breaks for employees.

“Four of the five board members expressed opposition to the ban, including Mike Burdette, who said he didn’t feel it was right to tell an adult they cannot use a legal product on grounds their taxes pay for,” reported  the Mount Vernon Signal. Other board members said they didn’t like the fact that the proposal from the administration did not include smoke breaks since employees “can’t leave school during the day except for designated reasons.”

The Signal reported that Superintendent Larry Hammond “put forth the argument that research has shown that second- and even third-hand smoke can be harmful to students,” but only Board Chairman Martin Vanzant supported the proposal. To a member who suggested that the ban be delayed for two or three years, he said that would be “postponing the inevitable.” (Read more)

In Kentucky, “All 174 school systems have restrictions of some sort on the use of tobacco products on their campuses, and any that allow staff smoking have designated areas,” Brad Hughes of the Kentucky School Boards Association told Kentucky health News. “About 30 have a total ban.”

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