Gaston County Board of Health & Human Services Tobacco Rule
A rule to Prohibit the Use of Tobacco and Tobacco Products on Gaston County Government Grounds, Buildings, Parks and Vehicles and Indoor Public Places was adopted by our Board on April 4, 2019 and was approved unanimously by the Board of Commissioners on May 28, 2019 at their regular meeting.
- Why did the DHHS Board implement a Tobacco-Free Rule?
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure are leading preventable causes of illness and premature death in North Carolina and in the nation.
- Everyone has the right to breathe clean air.
- Laws or policies that restrict where you can smoke or use tobacco products help people who are thinking of quitting to quit, protect others from exposure to secondhand smoke, and provide tobacco-free role modeling to youth in the community.
Dangers of secondhand smoke and secondhand aerosol:
- Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer.
- According to the United States Surgeon General there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Also, secondhand smoke has been proven to cause cancer, heart disease, and asthma attacks I both smokers and nonsmokers.
- The U.S. Surgeon General issued a report on e-cigarettes and young people stating that emitted e-cigarette aerosol is not just water vapor, but contains nicotine and can contain additional toxins, making it less safe than clean air and e-cigarette use has the potential to involuntarily expose children and adolescents, pregnant women, and non-users to aerosolized nicotine and, if the products are altered, to other psychoactive substances. Therefore, clean air, being free of both smoke and e-cigarette aerosol, remains the standard to protect health.
- Why does the Gaston County Tobacco Rule include government grounds and parks in the rule?
Health risks of secondhand smoke outdoors:
- It has been shown that during smoking, outdoor levels of secondhand smoke may be as high as indoor levels and may pose a health risk for people nearby (if you can smell it, you are being exposed).
- According to the U.S. Surgeon General's report in 2006, "Breathing even a little secondhand smoke can be harmful."
- Not only are we concerned about secondhand smoke, we are concerned for our youth. Having tobacco-free grounds and parks helps set a positive norm for our youth. 90% of adults started using tobacco before the age of 18. Therefore, in order to reduce the use of tobacco in our community, we should influence kids not to start.
A cleaner environment:
- Cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item in America.
- Outdoor smoke-free policies have been shown to decrease litter making the clean-up at outdoor areas less cumbersome.
- Why is the DHHS Board addressing smoking and tobacco use?
The DHHS Board desires to reduce the harmful effects of smoking as well as eliminate the exposure to secondhand smoke for its citizens and any visitors. Policies or ordinances that prohibit where you can use tobacco products help those who are thinking of quitting to successfully quit the use of tobacco products. Tobacco-free or smoke-free policies help to protect others from the exposure to secondhand smoke as well as provide tobacco-free role modeling for our youth.
If you or someone you know is thinking about quitting, there is support. Smokers can talk to their healthcare providers about quitting and review the cessation options that are available through their health insurance. They can also take advantage of the free quitting support service, QuitlineNC at 800-784-8669 (800-QUIT-NOW ) or go to the QuitlineNC website.