In a 10-0 vote on Nov. 10, the Snohomish Health District’s Board of Health became the fifth county in the state to pass a law restricting vaping in public places and youth access to vapor products. Similar to the no smoking in public laws passed in 2005, adults will be prohibited from vaping in public starting December 10. This includes outdoor areas within 25 feet of an entryway, as well as indoor spaces like restaurants, bars, stores, movie theaters and other places of employment.
“E-cigarettes and vaping products release a cloud of chemicals that may be harmful, especially to our most vulnerable,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer and director of the Snohomish Health District. “This new law is the result of months of work and collaboration with county residents, aimed at protecting the greater public, particularly our youth, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses.”
In order to prevent youth access, retailers selling vapor products will be required to post signs stating no sales to minors, and warnings that nicotine is toxic and should be kept away from children. Furthermore, the law stipulates that vapor products cannot be sold to, given to, or possessed by minors.
Retail outlets in Snohomish County will also be required to obtain a permit to sell vapor products. Locations that do not prohibit minors from entering, like grocery or convenience stores, will be required to keep all vapor products behind a counter or in a locked display. Vape-only retail outlets that do not allow minors in their store and meet other requirements, may obtain a different permit that allows sampling of vapor products, provided the store has a separate ventilation system.
All vapor product retailers will have until Feb. 10, 2016 to submit completed permit applications, and must be fully permitted by May 10, 2016.
“We still have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Goldbaum. “Staff are working to finalize all of the outreach materials and permit application forms, and we see the next six months or so focused on educating the community about these important changes.”
The public is encouraged to visit www.snohd.org/Healthy-Living/Smoke-Free-Living/Vaping-Vapor-Products for more detailed information about the new law. This page will continue to be updated with outreach and informational materials in the coming weeks and months.