“Nix the Next”
By allowing communities to prevent a new generation from becoming addicted to nicotine.
Why do we need this campaign?
Youth tobacco use – specifically e-cigarettes or vaping – is a significant threat to the health and well-being of Kentucky’s future generations. Nearly 90 percent of tobacco users first try a tobacco product by age 18. But, those who didn’t start using nicotine by age 26 are likely to never start. (1)
These disturbingly high rates of frequent and daily e-cigarette use suggest a strong dependence on nicotine.
Many youth falsely believe these new products are safe. Some don’t even realize they contain nicotine. In reality, e-cigarettes deliver much higher concentrations of addictive nicotine than traditional cigarettes. And, there is evidence that kids and young adults may transition from e-cigarettes to cigarettes and other drugs.
How did we get here?
Tobacco companies have grown bolder in their efforts to keep people addicted and misinformed.
Efforts include Big Tobacco’s lobbying of watered down and less effective tobacco control measures. This is simply a public relations ploy to appear that Big Tobacco is against youths using tobacco products, yet the tobacco and e-cigarette industries spent more than $788,000 lobbying Kentucky lawmakers in 2020.(6)
Big Tobacco also targets products and promotions to youth and at-risk populations. Youth report that seeing tobacco product advertising in stores, on television, online, in movies, magazines and newspapers influences their decision to use tobacco.
What can advocates do?
In Kentucky, local cities and counties do not have the option to govern the marketing and sale of tobacco products in their own communities.
Their only choice is to pass a smoke-free ordinance. But not all communities are ready to go smoke-free. Restoring local control would provide another option and allow communities the ability to safeguard their children from tobacco marketing. In doing so, they would be able to reduce tobacco use and associated costs, as well as improve health for their residents.
Restoring communities’ ability to protect their young people could be done by repealing a 1996 law. That law was passed at the behest of Big Tobacco to prevent cities and counties from addressing tobacco use in their own communities. Restoring these options does not create a mandate, it simply gives communities the opportunity to enact their own protections if the community and elected officials see fit.
What could communities do if this law is repealed?
Me and my peers have changed a lot over the last four years. Many of us are starting life in the real world with real jobs or are beginning college. We are no longer the 14-year-olds in the back of the bus being offered a Juul. With these changes, the vast majority of 18-year-olds who vape today will assert without hesitation that they regret ever having started.
Shamitha, High School Student, Oldham County
A Message from Legislative Champion Senator Paul Hornback
Find Out Your Kentucky Legislators
Because kids can’t vote, they rely on the adults in their life to vote and speak up on their behalf. Legislators look to the residents in their district while crafting and voting on legislation in Frankfort. Kids count on their leaders to prioritize them, and on you to let the leaders know what they need to succeed.
Use our legislator lookup tool to find out who represents you.
Health for a Change: Local Tobacco Control Advocate Training Webinar