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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Meghan Porter, Public Information Supervisor, (360)490-0562, or Meghan.porter@co.thurston.wa.us
Kateri Wimsett, Outreach and Education Specialist, (360)867-2516, or kateri.wimsett@co.thurston.wa.us

Board of Health Sets Public Hearing on Smoking and Vaping in Public Places
Public invited to provide input on proposed rules for smoking and vaping

​OLYMPIA – The Thurston County Board of Health will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, October 13, at 5:00 p.m. to receive public testimony on a proposed ordinance adopting a new article, Article VIII of the Sanitary Code for Thurston County, prohibiting smoking and vaping at indoor public places, places of employment, and certain youth-oriented outdoor public places. 

“We are committed to putting policy in place to support the health of our community, with a strong focus on the health of our youth,” stated Thurston County Board of Health Chair, Tye Menser. “The use of vaping products among Thurston County youth is rising at an alarming rate.” 

What: Public Hearing on Smoking and Vaping in Public Places

When: Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Time: 5:00 p.m., or soon thereafter

Place: Thurston County Courthouse, Building One, Room 280, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, Washington 98502

How: Members of the public may attend in person; or over the phone at 360-252-9020 Pin: 1234

Note: Anyone attending in-person must wear a cloth face-covering or mask and maintain at least six feet physical distance 

Smoking and vaping are not harmless. 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. 

Vaping among young people is a growing concern in Thurston County. Thurston County has experienced a significant increase in youth use of e-cigarettes and other vapor products, with 48% of 12th graders having tried vaping at some point and 32% of 12th graders currently vaping according to the 2018 Healthy Youth Survey. Young people who use e-cigarettes are at a higher risk for using cigarettes and other substances. 

Written Comments: 
Written comments may be submitted in lieu of verbal testimony. Written comments must be received by 5:00 p.m., Monday, October 12, 2020. Send written comments to Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department, Attn: Chris Hawkins, 412 Lilly Rd NE, Olympia, WA 98506; fax comments to (360) 867-2600; or send via email to Chris.hawkins@co.thurston.wa.us. Comments may also be dropped off, in person, at 412 Lilly Road NE between Noon and 4:00 pm, Monday – Friday.

The draft ordinance includes local adoption of the statewide Smoking in Public Places law (RCW 70.160) by reference in the proposed article VIII of the Thurston County Sanitary Code. It would prohibit smoking and vaping in indoor public places, places of employment, and certain youth-orientated outdoor public places where children congregate (a playground, public or private kindergarten, elementary, or secondary schools, and child care facilities). It would apply the same 25’ rule from doors and other air intakes for indoor spaces for vaping as is true for smoking. 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’rule.

You can find copies of the proposed ordinance at: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/smoking-vipp-sepa.aspx. Copies are also available at the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department at 412 Lilly Road NE, between noon and 4:00 pm Monday – Friday. They will be mailed upon request. 

To request disability accommodations, call the Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator at least three days prior to the meeting at 360-786-5440. Persons with speech or hearing disabilities may call via Washington Relay: 711 or 800-833-6388.


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3