Mara Powell
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Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates

With the e-cigarette epidemic impacting kids across the Commonwealth, we applaud Senator Ralph Alvarado for championing Senate Bill 56 to ensure Kentucky complies with the new federal Tobacco-21 law, and we thank the Kentucky House for supporting its passage through consent orders today. This measure seeks to codify in state law a minimum legal sale age of 21 for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. We also commend Senator Alvarado for working to remove all penalties for youth under age 21 for purchase, use, and possession of tobacco products.

E-cigarettes are nicotine-packed products that prime the adolescent brain for addiction and can cause lasting damage to brain development, among other negative health outcomes. As much as we don’t want to believe it, our kids often rely on friends or relatives close in age to get these harmful tobacco products. This measure can reduce the likelihood of kids’ access to e-cigarettes and other products through peers.

We thank Senator Alvarado for his continued leadership on this important measure for kids’ health. We also thank the Foundation for Healthy Kentucky’s Tobacco-Free Youth Ambassadors who raised their voices on this issue by sharing their stories and advocating for their peers in Frankfort. We now call on Governor Beshear to sign Senate Bill 56 into law to protect kids’ health now and in the future.

Stay up-to-date on Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children priorities and other bills that are good for kids on our Kentucky General Assembly Bill Tracker.


About Kentucky Youth Advocates
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