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Health Advocates: E-Cigarettes Erasing Kentucky Youth Smoking Gains

AP Photo/Steven Senne, File

A statewide school smoking ban took one more step toward becoming law Thursday, and with it, a renewed sense of urgency regarding teen vaping and e-cigarette use.

House Bill 11 prohibits the use of any tobacco product on district-owned property — that's school grounds and school buses and vans.

And e-cigarettes aren't exempt. Bonnie Hackbarth with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky says the alternative products are responsible for reversing school smoking trends.

"We were on a multi-decade trajectory of reducing teen use of any tobacco product," she reports. "In just the last 10-12 months, we have already lost more than a decade of that progress just because of e-cigarette use."

While the foundation estimates nearly half of school districts, or 42 percent, have already adopted 100 percent smoking bans, Kentucky still rivals the state with the highest high school student smoking rate, West Virginia.

HB11 is on the fast track for passage out of the House.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.