A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: Art and history, statues and reality — removing any offending art does not change the past

A few years ago I had the privilege of visiting the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid to view Picasso’s Guernica, one of the most amazing and unsettling works of art imaginable. It depicts the April 1937 bombing of the Basque city of Guernica by the Nazis at the request of the Nationalists, led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco, during the Spanish Civil War. The painting, in stark black and white and greys,...

Vaping and mental health are key concerns for Kentucky students in latest risk behavior survey

From Kentucky Teacher Based on the 2019 Kentucky Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) results, middle and high school students in the state are using electronic vaping products much more than they were in 2017. The percentage of middle school students who ever used an electronic vapor product increased from 15.1% in 2017 to 31.4% in 2019. A significant increase also occurred among high school students...

Registration open for UK High School Crop Scouting Competition; event set for July 30 in Princeton

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Kentucky youth can put their crop scouting skills to the test during the University of Kentucky’s High School Crop Scouting Competition. Registration is now open for the July 30 event. It will take place from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. CDT at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton. Participating teams should consist of four to six high school students and...

Age to buy tobacco is 21 thanks to federal legislation; state law pending, health advocates are pleased

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The minimum age to buy tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, is now 21. Legislation to raise the age from 18 passed Congress as part of the year-end spending bill and was signed into law by President Trump Dec. 20. The “Tobacco 21” legislation, co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., gave...

Senators McConnell, Kaine secure legislation to increase age to purchase tobacco products to 21

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has announced that he successfully secured the Tobacco-Free Youth Act in the Fiscal Year 2020 government agreement. The legislation, which he introduced earlier this year with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), would raise the nationwide minimum age to buy all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices, from 18 to 21 and help protect young...

Pew Trusts: Kentuckians among farmers forced to reckon with push to raise tobacco-buying age to 21

By Max Blau Pew Charitable Trusts Burley tobacco once lined nearly every road in Shelby County. But when Paul Hornback drives through his hometown, the 62-year-old tobacco farmer rarely sees the leafy crop. Despite his fears about tobacco farming, long the lifeblood of his community, Hornback supports the push to ban teenagers from buying cigarettes. Last month, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,...

Mitch McConnell: Elected officials must work with parents to protect our youth from nicotine addiction

The youth vaping crisis is putting the health of our children at risk. To address this rampant and dangerous new trend, I’ve introduced the “Tobacco-Free Youth Act,” a bipartisan federal bill with my fellow tobacco state colleague, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA). Once enacted, our legislation will raise the minimum purchase age for all tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21 and help protect...

Ban on tobacco in schools still alive; may pass House with measure raising to 21 legal age to buy

By Melissa Patrick and Al Cross Kentucky Health News With just three days left to pass bills, lawmakers in the state House are still working on measures that would protect Kentucky’s youth from tobacco and electronic cigarettes, efforts that health advocates have said could stop nearly one in three Kentucky students from ever smoking. David Osborne A bill to ban the use of tobacco at all public...

Bill to ban tobacco at all Ky. schools on life support; measure to raise minimum age to 21 may see new life

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News With just days left in the legislative session, the bill to ban use of tobacco at all schools and their events is on life support. But there may be new life in a bill that would raise the legal age for buying electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21. About 50 health advocates gathered at the Capitol Feb. 28 for what they called a last-ditch effort to get a statewide...

Tobacco-free schools bill moves to full House; Administrators urge lawmakers to pass legislation

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A bill to make Kentucky school properties tobacco-free passed unanimously out of the House health committee on Feb. 7 and was posted for passage on the consent calendar in the House this week. House Bill 11, sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, would ban the use of tobacco and electronic cigarettes on all school-owned properties, including all school events...

KSP introduces new mobile drug education trailer to inform public about effects of substance abuse

The Kentucky State Police have introduced a new mobile substance abuse education exhibit designed to help inform the public about the devastating effects of substance abuse. The 30-foot trailer features 14 flat screen monitors and one touch-screen monitor that present video messages about meth, heroin, marijuana, alcohol and tobacco. The videos include actual meth users who tell their real-life stories...

Finalists named for Kentucky Farm Bureau’s 2018 Outstanding Young Farm Family award

Each year, Kentucky Farm Bureau recognizes an individual or couple between the ages of 18 and 35 as the Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF) of the year. County Farm Bureaus across the state are encouraged to promote the competition, which recognizes individuals and families who have strong farm management skills, a high level of involvement in Farm Bureau and in their community, and have exhibited...

UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment to host Corn, Soybean and Tobacco Field Day in July

By Katie Pratt The University of Kentucky’s Corn, Soybean and Tobacco Field Day is July 24 at the UK Research and Education Center Farm in Princeton. Registration begins at 7 a.m. CDT. Tours begin at 7:50 a.m. and will offer producers more in-depth, educational options related to production and soil nutrition, tobacco, integrated pest management and precision agriculture. UK specialists present...

Lobbying on cigarette tax ramps up with foundation ads and tobacco firms use of farmers, retailers

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News If activity by lobbying interests is any indication, the idea of raising the state cigarette tax $1 a pack is an active idea among members of the Kentucky General Assembly. The main group advocating the tax increase, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, reported spending more than any other lobby during the first month of the session. Its total of $100,240 was not...

Poll finds most Kentuckians support a law to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21

Nearly six in 10 Kentucky adults favor raising the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 years, according to the Kentucky Health Issues Poll. The survey, taken Oct. 24-Dec. 2, found that 58 percent of Kentucky adults favored such a law and 39 percent opposed it, with majority support from both Democrats (63 percent) and Republicans (56 percent). Support among independents was 46 percent....

Coalition for a Smoke-Free Kentucky releases Infographic illustrating high cost of smoking

Kentucky spends $1.92 billion every year on health care costs related to smoking, according to a new infographic released by the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow. The infographic makes the case for raising the state’s current tax on cigarettes by at least $1 per pack, which would raise $266.2 million a year in revenue that the Commonwealth could use for health care, pensions or other needs. Created...

Kentucky agricultural cash receipts, net farm income rebound in past year from 2016 levels

Kentucky agricultural cash receipts and net farm income rebounded in the past year from 2016 levels, but are still well below the record levels set earlier in the decade. Agricultural economists from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment are projecting 2017 farm cash receipts to be $5.6 billion, which is a 3.5 percent increase from 2016. Preliminary indications also...

Tobacco’s Toll: New push aims to curb the other addiction problem in country’s sickest states

By Mary Meehan Special to KyForward Hundreds of kids scurrying to buses are oblivious to a sign above them declaring Bourbon County High School “100 percent Tobacco Free.” But upstairs in the library, sophomore and anti-smoking advocate Jacob Steward unfurls a six-foot scroll with earth-toned papers trapped between clear sheets of laminate. He begins reading the anti-smoking slogans he’ll post...

Community Leadership Program graduates address tobacco use in high school students in Appalachia

By Mallory Powell Special to KyForward Lifelong habits of tobacco use often begin during one’s teenage years. For Kentucky, this reality is particularly concerning, as the rate of tobacco use among Kentucky high school students is well above the national average — 35.8 percent compared with 20.2 percent. This includes all forms of tobacco, from cigarettes to vapes to chewing tobacco, though the...

Report: Failure by southern legislators on tobacco policies leads to higher tobacco use, cancer rate

State legislatures in Kentucky and 11 other Southern states are contributing to the region’s increased cancer burden by failing to implement evidence-based policies to reduce and prevent tobacco use, according to a report released by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). The result of this inaction has led to some of the highest tobacco use rates in the country and contributed...