Governor Signs Tobacco Free Schools Legislation

May 14, 2019


A high school student displays a vaping device.


Many of Virginia’s school buildings are tobacco free - but some aren’t. New legislation signed by Governor Ralph Northam Tuesday will change that.


“If we can continue to educate, as a group as a team, our children and their families...and really try to keep our children from putting that first cigarette or tobacco or nicotine product in their body it will be healthier for them, and also provide for healthy adults,” Northam said.

He signed the tobacco-free schools bill into law at Tucker High School, where senior Brynna Walker has been an advocate. She lobbied at the General Assembly this year, along with the group Y Street, pushing state lawmakers to take a more active role in limiting access to vaping and nicotine for teenagers.

“It’s very exciting to know that people care. It’s very exciting to know that our voices can be heard,” Walker says. She attended the bill signing Tuesday.

Delegate Patrick Hope of Arlington says some public schools have 100-percent tobacco free campuses. But now all schools will have to.

“And it doesn’t just apply just to students, but applies to teachers, it applies to other faculty, other professionals on staff, visitors,” Hope says. “And it also applies to any school related event.”

Hope says the bipartisan measure sends a strong message that Virginia is serious about keeping kids healthy and safe.

 This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.