Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates
In the midst of the youth vaping epidemic in Kentucky and on the heels of recent federal changes to combat it nationally, we applaud Senator Ralph Alvarado for championing Senate Bill 56, which seeks to codify in state law the minimum legal sale age of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21. We also commend Senator Alvarado in his effort 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, referred to as the Tobacco-21 law, reduces the likelihood of kids’ access to e-cigarettes and other products through peers.
We thank the Senate Health and Welfare Committee for supporting this important measure for Kentucky kids’ health. Chairman Alvarado’s continued leadership to ensure the Commonwealth complies with new federal Tobacco-21 law will protect kids’ health now and in the future. We call on the Kentucky Senate to support Senate Bill 56 as it moves to the Senate floor.
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 www.kyyouth.org.