Get Healthy Carson City: Celebrating 10 years of clean indoor air in Nevada
November 30, 2016
This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
For many Nevadans, smoking in restaurants, grocery stores, and other public spaces is a faint memory, but before 2006, lighting up a cigarette was actually allowed in these spaces. In places like restaurants, where smoking used to be inadequately separated into "smoking" and "non-smoking" sections, the haze has lifted and the air is now free of smoke. Patrons and employees can breathe easily thanks to an important legislative victory for public health.
In November of 2006, Nevada voters chose to protect the public from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure by voting "Yes" on the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act. The Act went into effect on Dec. 8, 2006. The passage of this measure provided substantial changes to Nevada smoking laws and protects children and adults from secondhand smoke in most indoor public places. The act has provided more than 1 million Nevadans with clean air to breathe.
The restrictions placed on smoking tobacco in public places as a result of the Clean Indoor Air Act protect human health and safety by limiting exposure to second-hand smoke. According to the Centers for Disease Control, secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals and at least 70 of them are known to cause cancer. Regular exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke in non-smoking adults by 20-30 percent. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can interfere with normal functioning of heart, blood, and vascular systems. People with chronic conditions are more likely to suffer when exposed to secondhand smoke.
The protection the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act provides to all Nevadans is significant, but there's still much work to be done. Moving forward, it's important to protect funding to continue efforts on tobacco education and prevention. The emergence of e-cigarettes has added new challenges for tobacco control advocates with regards to individual health, public health, and economic policy. Efforts to reduce youth smoking are also critically important. The youth smoking rate is 7.2 percent, and 26.1 percent of teens report trying e-cigarettes, according to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Finally, health care professionals, policy-makers, and advocates must all stand together to help decrease the rate of smoking among Nevada citizens and reduce smoking-related healthcare expenditures: $1.08 billion will be spent on health care costs directly caused by smoking in Nevada.
Come celebrate 10 years of clean indoor air in Nevada. Media and the public are invited to attend the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act being held at the Nevada Room at the Governor's Mansion in Carson City on Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is being hosted by the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition (NTPC). Featured speakers at the 10th anniversary event will include policymakers and advocates, past and present, who have been instrumental in advancing smoke-free and other tobacco prevention efforts in the Silver State. The program will be followed by a hosted lunch at noon for registered attendees. To register for this free event and luncheon, contact Amber Greene at email@example.com or 702-948-4160. Participation is limited to the first 150 registrants.