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Education, Public Health Commissioners Urge Kentucky Schools To Adopt Full Anti-Smoking Policies

The commissioners of Kentucky’s education and health departments are urging all school districts to pass full smoking bans to protect the health of students.

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday and Public Health Commissioner Stephanie Mayfield Gibson jointly signed a letter this month that was sent to all 173 state schools superintendents.In the letter, they say only 36 school districts, including Jefferson County, have passed comprehensive smoking bans that prohibit smoking anytime on any school property, in school vehicles and during field trips.Mayfield-Gibson said the state has decreased its student smoking rate to 18 percent, which follows a national decline.   “It has significantly dropped," said Mayfield-Gibson.But that still leaves Kentucky near the top.“Are we pleased it’s decreasing, of course. Are we resting on our laurels and said great job? Absolutely not, we have more work to do," she said.In 2011, Holliday sent a similar letter to school districts, but Kentucky hasn't been able to convince more than the three dozen districts that have already signed on.

Mayfield Gibson, who is a strong supporter of many of Gov. Steve Beshear's health initiatives, including the federal Affordable Care Act, said she hopes new programs and efforts will continue downward trends in youth smoking.