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STATE OF WASHINGTON

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
PO Box 47890. Olympia, Washington 98504-7890
Tel: (360) 236-4501 FAX: (360) 5867424 TDD Relay Service: 18008336388
May 17,2011
The Honorable Dick Muri, Chair
Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health
3629 South D Street
Tacoma, Washington 98418
Dear Chair Muri:
I am writing to comment on proposed regulations regarding smoking in public places, and the
sale and use of electronic smoking devices and unregulated nicotine delivery products.
Preventing the use of tobacco products and the chronic diseases it causes is one of the
Department of Health's highest priorities. Tobacco use has declined in Washington in the last
decade as a result of effective policies. We have one of the most comprehensive indoor clean air
laws to protect the public and workers from secondhand smoke. Higher tobacco taxes
discourage kids from starting and motivate adult smokers to quit. For the past 10 years we have
invested state funds into a comprehensive tobacco prevention program.
Washington is a leader in tobacco prevention and control and our smoking rate is the third lowest
in the country. Since the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program began more than 10 years
ago, there are now about a third fewer adult smokers. About 105,000 adults have been spared an
early death from tobacco use. Importantly, smoking by youth has been cut in half; 70,000 fewer
youth smoke in our state.
Smoking in Public Places
Our state' s 2005 Smoke-Free Public Places law (chapter 70.160 RCW) is one of the best in the
country. The state law allows local governments to make changes that allow more effective
enforcement. The state Department of Health strongly supports clean indoor air and protecting
workers and the public from secondhand smoke and its harmful effects. We support your efforts
to make application and enforcement of the law clear and consistent.
The Honorable Dick Muri, Chair
May 17,2011
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Electronic Cigarettes and Unregulated Nicotine Delivery Products
The issue of electronic cigarettes is a new one, and we don't have conclusive answers about all
aspects of their use. But there are some things we are aware of and concerned about. The
devices deliver nicotine to,the user; however, there is no evidence that electronic cigarettes are
safe or effective in helping people quit smoking. Nicotine is a toxic, addictive substance.
In fact, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tested electronic cigarettes and
determined that there are some toxic ingredients in them. Because they are not FDA-approved,
there is no way to know the exact level of danger someone would get from using
them. http://www.fda.govlNewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucml72906.htm.
The Department of Health supports evidence-based cessation aids that we know to be safe and
effective. This includes nicotine replacement medications approved by the Food and Drug
Administration such as nicotine patches, gum, and nasal spray - but not electronic cigarettes.
We share your concern about the safety of electronic cigarettes and their use in public and by
children under 18.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your proposed regulations.
Sincerely,

Maxine Hayes, M.D, M.P.H.
cc: Members, Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health
Dr. Anthony Chen, Director of Health, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
Mary C. Selecky, Secretary, Washington State Department of Health
Allene Mares, Assistant Secretary, Washington State Department of Health