Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and accounts for the death of approximately 7,600 Washington residents every year. Tobacco-related diseases kills more than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides, and fires combined.
While adult smoking has declined by 32 percent, from 22.4 percent in 1999 to 14.8 percent in 2009, about 750,000 Washingtonians still smoke. In addition, some racial and ethnic groups, and people with less education and income, use tobacco at much higher rates.
So far youth smoking has dropped by 50 percent, but 70,000 of our youth still smoke. In fact, 50 kids start smoking every day. And now many of them are using other types of tobacco, such as cigars, smokeless products, chew, snuff, pipes and flavored cigarettes (bidis).
Teens Against Tobacco Use
TATU is a peer-education program made up of middle and high school age teens from all over Pacific County. TATU members are trained to teach elementary students as well as other youth about the hazards of tobacco use. Students participate in events such as the Great American Smoke-Out, Kick Butts Day, and work with the Health District to perform compliance checks – reducing the sales of tobacco to minors. Call (360) 875-9343 / (360) 642-9349 – new members are always welcome.
WA Smoking in Public Places Law (I-901)
In 2006, the people of Washington State voted to expand the state Clean Indoor Air Act, now called Smoking in Public Places Law (RCW 70.160) making all indoor public and work places smoke-free. The new law prohibits smoking in any indoor enclosed public place, including workplaces, bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, skating rinks, casinos, reception areas and most hotel rooms. Owners and persons in charge are responsible for making sure that their clients comply with the law. Owners must post “No Smoking Signs” on all entrances. Owners must also ensure no patrons are smoking within 25 feet of any door, window, or exit.
What does the law require employers to do?
If you operate a public place or place of employment, smoking is not allowed at your establishment effective December 8, 2005. If you see customers, staff, or visitors smoking, you or your staff must tell them not to smoke indoors. Smoking outside your establishment is prohibited within 25 feet of entrances, exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes.
Do business owners need to post signs?
Yes. A “No Smoking” sign must be conspicuously posted at each entrance as well as in prominent locations in your establishment. You can download printable signs from the Department of Health or contact the Health Dept. at (360) 875-9343.
How would business owners apply the 25-foot rule?
Smoking is prohibited within a presumptively reasonable minimum distance of 25 feet from entrances, exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes that serve an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited to ensure that tobacco smoke does not enter the enclosed area.
The responsibility of a business owner extends to areas of service under his or her control. Sidewalks, parking lots, and public streets are not usually areas of service for most businesses and therefore not included in the areas of business owner responsibility. Outside service areas, such as patio-seating and “beer garden” locations are under the control of the business owner and are subject to the law. Smoking is prohibited in these areas, as well. Individuals violating the law are under the jurisdiction of local law enforcement.
Who do I report violations to in Pacific County?
You can report online that occur in Pacific County or call (360)875-9343 or 642-9349 and leave a message, describing the name and address of the business and the time of the violation. If you provide us with your name and phone number, we may contact you for additional information. Your report of violations to the law is confidential.
Know the Law… Don’t Sell Tobacco to Minors.
Under 18? No Tobacco, Period.
What is the purpose of a compliance check?
Local retailers that are licensed to sell tobacco products are routinely tested by underage youth operatives to ensure tobacco is not being sold to minors (under age 18), according to Washington State Law RCW 70.155. The Washington State Liquor Control Board conducts these regular checks throughout Pacific County and issues a fine to those retailers that sell to the youth operatives.
Studies show that most adult smokers began using tobacco before the age 18. Preventing young people from beginning to use tobacco is critical to reduce the long-term health impacts of tobacco.
What happens to a retailer who sells tobacco to a minor?
Cashiers and retailers caught selling tobacco to minors must each pay a fine to the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
Pacific County Public Health Department and the Washington State Liquor Control Board are available to provide training and materials to help store owners and cashiers on how to comply with the law.
What is the fine for a sale to a minor?
If a retailer sells tobacco products to a minor, you run the risk of incurring a fine for both yourself and the store owner.
Clerks can be fined:
- 1st offense: $50
- 2nd offense and all subsequent offenses*: $100
Your store owner will also be fined according to the number of sales in a two year period (no matter which employee had the sell):
- 1st offense: $100
- 2nd offense: $300*
- 3rd offense: $1,000 and a 6 month license suspension*
- 4th offense: $1,500 and a 12 month license suspension*
- 5th offense: permanent revocation of cigarette license*
*within a two year period
What can I do, if I see a retailer sell tobacco to a minor?
We encourage you to report what you saw to the Washington State Liquor Control Board. You can report the incident at http://www.liq.wa.gov/enforcement/report-violaton. If you want your report to remain anonymous, just be sure to mark the box, “Do not release my name.”
What is secondhand smoke?
Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke exhaled by a smoker and the smoke from a burning cigarette. This combination is dangerous for both smokers and nonsmokers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including 50 known cancer-causing substances. Secondhand smoke kills 38,000 nonsmokers each year in the United States. People exposed to secondhand smoke greatly increase their risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, asthma, bronchitis, ear infections, pneumonia, croup, and sore throats.
What is the benefit of eliminating secondhand smoke?
Eliminating secondhand smoke will improve the health of employees and customers, reduce health care costs, and save businesses money by reducing cleaning and maintenance costs.
Cessation: Resources to Help You Quit
Washington State Tobacco Quit Line
- Currently, the Washington State Quit Line only provides tobacco cessation services to people enrolled in the medicaid program. Call 1-800-Quit NOW to talk to a counselor.
- For those individuals not enrolled in Medicaid, please check with your employer to see if you have tobacco cessation coverage. At least 45 statewide employers still cover the cost of a tobacco cessation program for their employees and/or members.
Tips to help you quit
When you get the urge to smoke or chew tobacco:
- Discuss it with a friend.
- Delay it. The urge will pass.
- Breathe deep and stay calm.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Do something else.
- You can also try: Getting rid of all ashtrays, lighters, and smoking materials.
- Deciding how you’ll turn down a cigarette before it is offered to you.
- Exercising. Go for a walk or a bike ride.
- Putting your saved money in a big jar.
- Telling yourself each morning that you don’t smoke.
- Holding a pencil in your hand when talking on the telephone.
- Reward yourself each week for being tobacco-free.
- Talking to a smoking coach who can help you create an individual quit plan that is just right for you.
Within 20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a series of healthy changes that continue for years.
After you stop smoking, in:
- 20 minutes – Your heart rate drops.
- 12 hours – Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
- 2 weeks to 3 months – Your risk of heart attack begins to drop, and your lung function begins to improve.
- 1 to 9 months – Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
- 1 year – Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
- 5 years – Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s 5-15 years after quitting.
- 10 years – Your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker, and your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases.
- 15 years – Your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of a non-smoker.
Free resource for the uninsured: the EX Plan is a free quit smoking program that helps you re-learn your life without cigarettes: http://www.becomeanex.org/