Lake Cumberland District Health Department using polls in an effort to get school boards to make campuses tobacco-free

Countywide smoking bans are unlikely to pass anytime soon in most of rural Kentucky, but more county school districts are making their campuses tobacco-free. Now a multi-county health department is trying to get rural school boards to do that, with public-opinion polls showing that county residents overwhelmingly favor the move.

Department logo has been altered to
show Clinton County in yellow.

The Lake Cumberland District Health Department conducted the poll in Clinton County, and said it found that 86.55 percent were in favor and 7.16 percent were opposed. The rest had no opinion.

Making a campus tobacco-free means that members of the public are not free to smoke at school athletic events, so the poll also asked, “Would you like to see our school become tobacco-free at all events?” The results were virtually the same: 85.3 percent answered yes and 8.7 percent answered no, even though one-fourth to one-fifth of the county’s residents smoke and it has a long history of raising tobacco.

“The results are perhaps surprising to some, considering the rate of tobacco usage in the county,” reports the Clinton County News. The poll of 749 residents has an error margin of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

The department also surveyed 100 teachers in the school system and found that 77 percent would “definitely” support making the schools 100 percent tobacco-free.

The health department presented the survey and other findings to the Clinton County Board of Education June 15, but the board took no action. The department noted that a recent survey found that 28 percent of the county’s students in eighth through 12th grades had used smokeless tobacco in the previous 30
days. “That level was the highest in the Lake Cumberland District,” the Clinton County News reports.

The Casey County Board of Education adopted a smoke-free policy after a poll by the health department showed 70 percent of the county’s residents favored it, the Casey County News reported.

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