A public hearing on a new county article that would prohibit smoking and vaping at indoor public places, places of work and certain youth-oriented outdoor spaces has been scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 13.
The meeting will be hosted at 5 p.m. in Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, Room 280. Members may attend in person or call in at 360-252-9020.
“We are committed to putting police in place to support the health of our community, with a strong focus on the health of our youth,” Thurston County Board of Health Chair Tye Menser said in a statement in a county news release. “The use of vaping products among Thurston County youth is rising at an alarming rate.”
A 2018 state youth survey found that nearly one-third of high school seniors in Thurston County were vaping on a regular basis, which was up 9 percent from two years prior. The same study found that almost half of Thurston County seniors have tried vaping at some point.
“Smoking and vaping are not harmless,” the news release reads “Smoking is harmful to those exposed to the smoke as well as to the individuals smoking. Vaping aerosols contains particles of solvents, flavorings, and other chemicals produced in the heating process. These may result in health consequences for those exposed, especially vulnerable populations like children, pregnant women, and those with compromised lung or heart conditions.”
According to a news release from the county, the draft ordinance includes local adoption of the statewide Smoking in Public Places law.
“It would apply the same 25-feet rule from doors and other air intakes for indoor spaces for vaping as is true for smoking,” the news release reads. “It would also require signage about the rule at public places and places of employment. It employs the standard approach to enforcement, specifying what constitutes a civil infraction and penalties. The draft includes a rebuttal process for reducing the 25-feet rule.”
Additional information on the proposal can be found on the Thurston County Board of Health’s website: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/smoking-vipp-sepa.aspx.