Mara Powell
502-895-8167 *122

FRANKFORT, KY – Across the commonwealth, tobacco takes a toll on the health of children, teens, and pregnant women and their babies. Seventeen percent of Kentucky high school students currently smoke—the 2nd highest rate in the nation—and 2,900 Kentucky kids become new daily smokers each year. However, viable solutions do exist to end tobacco use. Increasing Kentucky’s tobacco tax by at least $1 is a proven method to prevent teens from starting to smoke and supports a healthy future for Kentucky kids.

“In a climate of tough budget decisions in Kentucky, an increased tobacco tax of at least $1 offers common ground for decisionmakers,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “This targeted solution can help teens make healthy choices now and be healthier in the future, and decrease tobacco-related health costs for the state in the decades ahead—a win for Kentucky kids, families, and the state budget.”

Kentucky Youth Advocates, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, members of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow, and youth, pediatricians, and advocates from across the state gathered on Wednesday in Frankfort in the Capitol Rotunda for a news conference to raise awareness around teen tobacco use and to promote an increase to Kentucky’s tobacco tax of at least $1 as a solution to prevent teen smoking.

Speakers List:

  • Caroline Rushing, Monroe County CARES Youth Prevention Ambassador
  • Mandakini Sadhir, Chair of the Kentucky Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Adolescent Task Force
  • Thomas Callahan, Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children Youth Ambassador
  • Terry Brooks, Executive Director of Kentucky Youth Advocates

View the new “Prevent Teens from Starting to Smoke” infographic here and the “Keep Teens from Starting to Smoke and Reduce Smoking Among Pregnant Women” Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children fact sheet here.


Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at