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Tacoma-Pierce Board of Health to vote on e-cigarettes

November 4, 2015

Public has final opportunity to comment on proposed changes at Nov. 18 meeting

New countywide rules would
prohibit those under 18 from possessing e-cigarettes and vaping products, require retail permits to sell, and child resistant packaging for e-cigarette liquid.

TACOMA, Wash. —
After months of public input, Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health plans to vote on new e-cigarettes and vaping regulations at its Nov. 18 meeting. The intent of the new regulations is to stem the tide usage among youth under 18 and to protect the public from second hand vapor exposure.

The public will have the opportunity to comment on countywide rules that would limit the sale and use of electronic cigarettes and related products.

The proposed local regulations would prohibit use of vapor products in all public places and worksites, consistent with the Washington state Smoking in Public Places law. Youth under 18 would not be permitted to possess vapor products, and retailers would need an annual permit to sell vapor products. In addition, the regulations would require child resistant packaging for e-cigarette liquids sold in Pierce County.

“Nicotine is addictive, and e-cigarettes are nicotine-delivery vehicles,” said Director of Health Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH. “People who start using nicotine products when they are young are likely to become addicted for life, and tobacco companies are cultivating a sustainable market for their product,” said Chen.

While the health effects of e-cigarettes are not fully known, teens under 18 continue to use them in record numbers. According to the 2014 Healthy Youth Survey, one in five Pierce County 10th graders use e-cigarettes – that’s double the number of those who use traditional cigarettes.

“Unfortunately, the state legislature failed to pass measures that would protect our youth from e-cigarettes, but our local Board of Health is not going to wait to protect our youth,” said Pierce County Council Member and Board of Health Vice Chair Rick Talbert. “We are concerned about the alarming rate at which youth are choosing to use nicotine delivery products and the potential impact on their health,” he said.

The Health Department conducted an extensive public input process on the proposed regulations. Staff took comments on the proposed regulations at a Sept. 23 public meeting and via email and mail until Oct. 19. In addition, since July, the Department has gathered extensive input on the proposed regulations through surveys, meetings and online forums with parents, vape shop owners and vapers, community organizations, community leaders, business owners, school district representatives, law enforcement, State of Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board, and others.

The Board will take public testimony on the proposed regulations beginning at approximately 3 p.m. The Board of Health meeting will take place in the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Auditorium, 3629 S. D St.

Contact
Edie Jeffers, Communications Manager
(253) 798-2853, (253) 405-6822 (cell/text), ejeffers@tpchd.org
Steve Metcalf, Communications Specialist
(253) 798-6540, smetcalf@tpchd.org

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