OLYMPIA – On Friday, January 1, 2021, new rules regarding smoking and vaping in public places in Thurston County will take effect. The rules prohibit smoking and vaping in indoor public places, places of employment, and certain youth-oriented outdoor public places. The rules also prohibit smoking and vaping within 25 feet of indoor public places and places of employment; current state law only applies to smoking.
The new rules apply to all jurisdictions in Thurston County and include a six-month phase-in period that utilizes education, outreach, and technical assistance. Beginning Thursday, July 1, 2021, the health officer can initiate enforcement actions and legal proceedings to gain compliance, as needed.
"We know that policies like this support health by protecting people from exposure to secondhand smoke and vapor emissions," said Schelli Slaughter, Public Health and Social Services Director. "They also support our young people in making healthy decisions by encouraging the norm as being smoke and vape free."
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.
The new rules require signs to be posted where smoking and vaping are prohibited. They also include a rebuttal process for reducing the 25-foot setback from indoor public places and places of employment.
Businesses that need signage can order signs or download signs for free at: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/smoking-vipp-sepa.aspx.