Health Department survey shows majority want Tobacco Free Schools

Posted June 16, 2015 at 7:32 pm

Results from a recent survey conducted by the Clinton County Health Department are in, and the results are perhaps surprising to some, considering the rate of tobacco usage in the county and Kentucky.

By an over-whelming margin, those participating in the survey, indicate that they would prefer the Clinton County School system to be a 100 percent Tobacco Free School system.

Responding to the survey were members of the general public living in Clinton County.

A separate set of questions about the Smoke Free Schools issue were also directed toward those employed as teachers and staff with the Clinton County School system.

According to the survey results, over 85 percent of those responding to the survey from the general public answered “yes” to the question “Would you like to see our school become Tobacco Free at all events?”

The survey, which was distributed and collected over a period of more than six months between October 2014 and April, 2015, was completed by 749 local residents.

Those answering “yes” to the above noted question, a total of 85.3 percent, far outnumbered the 8.7 percent who answered “no”, indicating they would be against a Tobacco Free school campus at all events.

Those answering the survey with a neutral or no opinion response totaled just 6.0 percent.

In addition to the results from the Community Surveys that were distributed, the Health Department also included a separate survey for those who are employed as teachers by the Clinton County School system, with 100 surveys being completed.

From those teachers, there were 77 percent who indicated they would “definitely” support Clinton County Schools creating a 100 percent Tobacco Free School Policy.

The results of the survey were provided by request to the Clinton County News last week by Ashley Bridgeman, Health Educator for the Clinton County Health Department.

Bridgeman presented the findings to the Clinton County Board of Education on Monday night, June 15, during a scheduled school board meeting.

According to the data collected in the survey from the general public, the numbers were very similar when asked if they would support the school system in creating a policy to go 100 percent Tobacco Free.

Responses to that question saw 86.55 percent responding with “yes” while only 7.16 responded with “no” and 6.29 having no opinion on the questions.

The survey went on to ask both groups about any health issues that might make it difficult to be around cigarette smoke.

Among the teachers answering the survey, the simple “yes or no” choice saw 22 percent noting they did have a health condition while 78 percent said they did not suffer from any particular health condition that would make it difficult to be around cigarettes.

The health question directed to the Community Survey group was considerably more detailed, giving the respondents the opportunity to answer the question with more particulars.

In that case, the survey results noted that 19 individuals said they have asthma, 23 noted they were allergic to cigarette smoke, four suffered from the condition known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), nine said they have heart disease, five stated they suffer from breathing issues, and one individual noted they had only one working lung due to histoplasmosis and one additional person indicated they suffered from chronic bronchitis.

As for the demographics that were presented with the survey results, the information noted that among adults, Clinton County has a smoking rate of 21 percent.

It also noted that according to the Kentucky Incentives for Prevention (KIP) Survey revealed that the 30 day smokeless tobacco use had increased between students in the 8th to 12th grades, going on to say that the frequency of 30 day use of smokeless tobacco in Clinton County was 28 percent.

That level was the highest in the Lake Cumberland District.

In May, 2015, the last time the number of Smoke Free Schools was updated by the Kentucky Youth Advocates on it’s website, there were 40 school districts in Kentucky that had adopted policies to be 100 percent tobacco free on school property.

Those 40 Kentucky school districts include about 500 individual schools.

Kentucky has 173 public-school districts, with 1,233 public schools, according to the state Department of Education.