Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in Washington, according to the state Department of Health. In November 2015, Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health unanimously passed vaping regulations. The rules protect the public from second-hand vaping smoke and keep youth from accessing vapor products.
On Sept. 10, a Pierce County judge decided in favor of parties in a lawsuit that challenged parts of the Health Department regulations to address vapor product sampling and ventilation at retail vape shops, saying that the rules overstepped the agency’s authority by being more restrictive than those set by the state because the rules required special licenses and air filtration systems in shops. The Health Department will appeal the judge’s decision because it does not allow for adequate protection of public health and is contrary to the vaping law the state Legislature enacted in 2016.
“We think the judge got it wrong. Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health has the authority to take this action,” said Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, director of health. “And the state law does not prevent us from taking additional steps to protect the health of our residents. New research shows more worrisome health effects. We plan to appeal.”
The PC Board of Health passed the local vaping regulations to protect youth from e-cigarettes and prohibit adult use in public places to align with the state Smoking in Public Places Law. In recent years, vapor products have grown in popularity. In Pierce County, an estimated 14 percent of 10th graders and 18 percent of 12th graders have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days according to the state’s 2016 Healthy Youth Survey.
Read more about Pierce County vaping and smoking regulations at www.tpchd.org/tobaccolaws.