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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Commissioner Karen Valenzuela, Thurston County Board of Health Chair at (360) 786-5414 or ValenzK@co.thurston.wa.us
Kateri Wimsett, Public Health & Social Services Dept at (360) 867-2516 or WimsetK@co.thurston.wa.us

Tobacco Free County Properties Coming Jan. 1

The new rules banning smoking, e-cigarettes and the use of other tobacco products at county buildings go into effect on January 1, 2014. County staffers have been hard at work since the county Board of Health approved the new policies back in May, and many county employees and visitors to county buildings have been reminded of the change in recent weeks as blue and white signs with the new policy information are appearing near doors and walkways on county properties.

The new sign featuring the words "cleaner air" on a blue sky background is also featured on the county's website. The goal of the new tobacco-free policy is to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke for employees and for guests visiting county properties. Commissioners also hope the new policy will encourage employees who do use tobacco to quit the habit.

"We know there's no such thing as a safe amount of secondhand smoke, and this new policy is a tried and tested way of reducing secondhand smoke exposure and making our facilities and campuses safer and healthier for our employees and for the public," said Thurston County Commissioner and Board of Health Chair Karen Valenzuela.

Thurston County is one of several South Sound organizations to go tobacco free. Other government agencies and large employers have adopted similar policies in recent years:
  • Mason County - 2006
  • Capital Medical Center - 2010
  • Providence St. Peter Hospital - 2010
  • Washington State Department of Health - 2010
  • South Puget Sound Community College - 2011

All county properties and worksites, including wholly-leased properties, will be subject to the new tobacco-free policy. Thurston County parks will not be subject to the new tobacco-free rules.

For more information on the county's new tobacco-free policy, go to www.co.thurston.wa.us/ and click on the blue and white graphic with the words "Coming January 1st--cleaner air."



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3