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Kentucky lawmakers to consider local control over vaping and tobacco rules

Health advocates push for local governments to control rulemaking over marketing and advertising of tobacco and vaping products.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — An effort to give more local control over sales and advertising of tobacco and vaping products will get a hearing in Frankfort on Tuesday.

The request is a step supporters hope will curb use while advocates for the industry against fear it'll create more issues than it solves.

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky will join lawmakers looking to give local control to the sale and advertising of the products. While the plan would still need hearings, passage, and the governor’s signature next year before becoming law, supporters say it will allow for more local decisions by officials who know their community best.

But opponents think the idea could create major issues. Some are concerned about First Amendment concerns and how a patchwork of different rules would be almost unenforceable.

"It would be like playing whack-a-mole, is the best example," said Greg Troutman, a lawyer and advocate for the industry, “because it's not going to prevent people from going to another state, going to another county, to buy products. And it's not going to stop a lot of people [who] buy online.”

Ben Chandler, President and CEO of Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said, “The local health department leaders throughout the state want to have more of a say so and they want their local governments to have more of a say so in how these tremendously dangerous and unhealthy products are sold and marketed and distributed.”

The hearing is set to take place at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning in the Kentucky Capitol Annex.