Health Department plans to appeal ruling against its vaping rules


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

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  1. The judge got it right.. The evidence is in favor of vapor products opposed to traditional cigarettes.. Check out what public health agencies in England or Canada are saying about vapor and the science they’re investing in to back it.. This isn’t about public health Tacoma, listen to these small business owners in your area.. Great win for them and those who are seeking a way off of tobacco.

  2. I don’t understand why Pierce County thinks this will be better for kids. To my understanding they are regulating what is going on inside of ADULT ONLY stores. If minors aren’t allowed inside in the first place how does restricting sampling to adults and better ventilation protect children…?

    In addition, the CDC released data this year showing a decrease in vaping among teens year over year since 2015. This whole war on vaping health departments seem to be waging just appears to be the desire to “Slay the Dragon” and be a hero instead of tackling real health issues.

    If we really want this invasive of government influence in our daily lives, instead of going after a harm reduction tool for adults maybe they should focus on the food everyone puts in their bodies and how you have to spend an hour at a grocery store to find any items without added sugar. How can we as a society justify regulating an adult business in this fashion and yet we allow candy to be at eye level to children at every grocery store check out area? I’m not suggesting we actually tell grocery stores they cannot, I just think this sort of targeting is ridiculous in comparison to what we accept as the norm every day.

    It’s examples like this government overreach and purposeful ignorance to reality why Trump won.

  3. I find the dishonesty of Anthony L-T Chen to be beyond disconcerting. The first time he addressed this issue he claimed opioids could be put into e-cigarettes. To this day no one could explain how this could be done and these drugs are so heavily regulated in the first place it’s hard enough getting them when you actually need them.

    And in the year 2016 in both the US and UK we’re talking a figure of under 1% of habitual users never smoked. So where does this 14% and 18% come from? 14% and 18% “tried it”.

    We need to stop the lies. When respected health officials tell children smoking is healthier knowing 75% of teen experimenters become habitual users there’s a problem.

  4. This is your state everybody; residents of Wa continually fall prey to bad legislation due to fiscal irresponsibility!

    This is the same state “claims” to hold your children in the highest regard, but continually underfunds/doesn’t fund they very people they claim to be protecting!

    Here’s a thought TPCHD, how about conducting a study to prove the validity of your claims on second hand effects. God knows you love to waste money doing studies that achieve zero results! Or should Pierce county residents forget the 80k billboard smear campain, or countless homeless studies the state has conducted.

    So before this article is blindly read by the constituency you continuously mislead how about you do a little research…. Wait I will do one Google search for you.

    How about you be part of the solution instead of the problem, and quit wasting tax payer dollars to fund your personal and political agenda.

    Yours truly


  5. I will never agree to the biased facts you guys are collecting. The fact that underage kids are getting a hold of vaping devices is due to someone of age buying for them. Examples included a parent that is buying for their kids and that’s their business and would be the same with cigarettes and beer. As far as the health of a individual dying from a vape device hmmm if that was true it would be all over the news. The fact is you are trying to control a act verse the better result! I have been cigarettes free for 6 years all because I decided to vape instead which is less harmful and a better alternative! I couldn’t be more happier and not winded or smelling like a ashtray. And another point to make here is the more we get people to switch to vaping will help the environment overall, including no lit cigarette butt being thrown from a moving vehicle! Please provide the facts on proper pretenses! Thanks!

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