SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – A preliminary comment period has officially opened for county residents to provide input on a potential new policy that would prohibit vaping in public places. E-cigarettes and vaping products are not regulated the same way cigarettes are. This leads to public health concerns about potential exposure to the unknown mixture of chemicals in the vapor, as well as the rise in teens and young adults using a new type of addictive nicotine product.
“Our primary concern is making sure the most vulnerable are protected,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer and director of the Snohomish Health District. “E-cigarettes and vaping products release a vapor of aerosolized particles. Based on the possible health risks, we are looking at policy options to protect the greater public, especially our youth, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses.”
INFOGRAPHIC: E-Cigarettes and Vaping: What You Need to Know
The newly formed vaping subcommittee met on July 1 for its first work session. The presentation and all materials provided to the subcommittee have been posted online. Following a briefing by staff, the subcommittee agreed to move forward with the preliminary comment period. From July 6-31, the District is soliciting input on the following four questions:
- Do you support expanding the Smoking in Public Places law to prohibit vaping?
- How would prohibiting vaping in public places impact you?
- What do you think should be included in the ordinance to be most effective in preventing youth from smoking and vaping?
- Are there any specific issues that you would like the Board of Health to evaluate while considering this regulation?
There are a number of ways to share comments:
- Attend the public listening session from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21 in the Wilderness Auditorium at Everett Community College (2000 Tower St., Everett, Wash.)
- Email the District at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Visit www.snohd.org for the link complete the online survey
- Mail comments to:
Snohomish Health District, Attn: SIPP Comments
3020 Rucker Ave, Ste 306, Everett, WA 98201
“Our goal for this preliminary public comment period is to be transparent in the process and hear from all sides on the issue,” said Heather Thomas, communications and public affairs officer for the Health District. “We do not have a draft policy ready to go. It really is our intent to listen to what the community has to say, look at what the best available science shows and then let the vaping subcommittee decide on a recommendation to the Board of Health.”
The subcommittee will reconvene in mid-August to review the comments received, and a recommendation for next steps is expected to be presented to the full board in September.
RESOURCE: Vaping & Vapor Products: Frequently Asked Questions
A webpage has been created for this process, and the public is encouraged to visit www.snohd.org/Healthy-Living/Smoke-Free-Living/Vaping-Vapor-Products. This page will be kept updated with details for the meetings and comment period, as well as links to resources and educational materials.
The Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. To read more about the District and for important health information, visit www.snohd.org.