According to a poll released by a nonprofit health organization, a vast majority of Kentuckians favor tobacco-free school districts.
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, partnering with Interact for Health, funded the poll which was conducted last fall.
The results show 84 percent of participants support a ban on tobacco products at schools – a policy adopted by only 33 of the commonwealth’s 173 public school districts.
Foundation CEO Susan Zepeda said schools need to go tobacco-free because students learn by example.
“The health education classes do a certain amount of good, but if they then see adults whom they really respect – their coaches, teachers and others – on campus smoking, it kind of undercuts that message,” Zepeda said.
So far, Murray Independent is the only district in far-western Kentucky to adopt the policy.
The poll also finds that 78 percent of Kentuckians favor the new school nutrition guidelines, while 97 percent support a required 30 minutes of physical activity each day for students. That practice is currently only recommended.
Zepeda said the results – representing widespread support from all political parties - will be sent to Kentucky policy makers at the state and federal level.