Tobacco Prevention & Control Program


Health Educator, 509-962-7515


Tobacco use continues to be the main cause of preventable death despite a reduction in the number of people who smoke. Each year 8,300 Washington State residents die from smoking. In the United States tobacco related deaths equal 480,000 annually. Severe lifestyle changes need to occur in order to decrease these numbers. The Department of Health has seen major declines in smoking since 1999. At this time, the majority of education and prevention programs began.


Did you know?

  • Men are more likely to be current cigarette smokers than women
  • Current cigarette smoking was highest among persons with graduate education degree certificate (GED) and lowest among those with a graduate degree
  • Current cigarette smoking was higher among persons living below the poverty level than those living at or above the level
  • Current cigarette smoking was highest in the Midwest and lowest in the West
  • Current cigarette smoking was higher among persons with disability/limitations than those with no disability/limitation
  • Lesbian/gay/bisexual adults are more likely to be current smokers than straight adults
Common Health Concerns from Smoking

Cancer - a broad term used to describe various diseases in which abnormal cells divide out of control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. This will help the body get rid of toxins. Smoking causes cancer and then blocks your body from fighting it.

Heart Disease - is a cardiovascular (CVD) that includes several types of heart conditions. Smoking is a major cause of CVD and causes one of every three deaths. Smoking causes changes in the blood and blood vessels; damaged cells, buildup of plaque, thickening and narrowing of blood vessels.

COPD - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. COPD includes emphysema; chronic bronchitis; and in some cases, asthma. Essentially, air flow becomes restricted and over time becomes harder to breathe.

Pregnancy - smoking makes becoming pregnant increasingly more difficult. Smoking while pregnant is extremely harmful to the unborn baby and greatly increases the change for birth defects and miscarriage.

Tobacco Advertisement and Promotion

Each day, tobacco companies spend $26 million on marketing. Research shows that exposure to tobacco advertising and promotions prompts smoking initiation and makes it harder for smokers to quit. Despite public health efforts to reduce youth smoking, almost 2,000 youth try their first cigarette every day.

In 2017, KCPHD partnered with Central Washington University faculty and students on the STARS project. The Standardized Tobacco Assessment for Retail Settings (STARS) is a surveillance tool that collects information on advertising, price promotion, and product placement of tobacco products in a community. Check out the STARS website for more information.

In spring of 2018, the STARS Project assessed 22 tobacco retailers in Kittitas County. Observations revealed that 90% of surveyed retailers sold visible tobacco products, 36% advertised cigarettes on the exterior of the store, and 88% sold flavored tobacco products.


Secondhand Smoke

In 1964 the Surgeon General’s Report came out to state that 2.5 million adults were dying from breathing in secondhand smoke. None of these people were even smokers. Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of them are toxic and around 70 are known to cause cancer. Here are some chemicals in cigarettes and what they are commonly used in.

ChemicalCommon Use
FormaldehydeUsed to embalm dead bodies
BenzeneUsed in gasoline
Hydrogen CyanideUsed in chemical weapons
CadmiumUsed in making batteries
ArsenicUsed in pesticides

Not only does smoking put you at risk, but it harms those around you. When smoking, you are putting your coworkers, friends, families, and children at risk of a multitude of potentially deadly health concerns. Please take heed of these warnings and help us eliminate the effects of secondhand smoke.

Health Effects on:

Exposure to secondhand smoke for a nonsmoker regularly increases your chance of developing health issues.
  • Arteries harden 20 percent faster than those not exposed.
  • 30 minutes of exposure causes blood vessels to change and reduces the hearts ability to receive blood.
  • Increases breathing problems which leads to irritation of the nose, throat, and eyes.
  • Exposure increases: ear infections and chronic respiratory illnesses, sore throats, croup, asthma, bronchitis, ear infections, reduced lung functions.
  • Children who experienced smoking in the home missed more days of school than those not exposed.
Breathing secondhand smoke is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Responsible for 150,000-300,000 lung infection in children under the age of 18 months.
  • This translates to 7,500-15,000 hospitalizations each year.
  • Causes low birth weight and lung problems in infants.
Hazardous to all aspects of health. Nonsmoking women who live with a spouse who smokes have a 20 percent greater risk of developing lung cancer.
Linked to negative health effects on household pets. Cancer in cats in linked to secondhand smoke. Cats that live with people who smoke are more than twice as likely at other cats to develop cancer.

Tobacco and Vapor product use in Washington State

  • Adult smoking rate: 13.5 percent (2017)
  • Adult e-cigarette (vapor product) use rate: 4.2 percent (2017)
  • Youth smoking rate (10th grade): 2 percent (2021)
  • Youth e-cigarette (vapor product) use rate (10th grade): 8 percent (2021)

Tobacco and Vapor 21 Law

Beginning January 1, 2020, the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products is 21 years old. See Washington State Department of Health’s Tobacco 21 page for more information. Individuals under 21 are particularly vulnerable to the effects of nicotine addiction and most people who begin to smoke do so before age 21. For those who vape, there is an increased risk of initiating cigarette smoking.

Cessation Resources

Insurance plans may offer free or low cost nicotine patches or other medications to help you quit. If you don't have insurance, there are multiple free resources in the State of Washington to help you quit. These include websites, mobile apps, educational materials, and support groups. Talk with your doctor or other professional about strategies for quitting that may be right for you.

Smoking in Public Places

On November 8, 2005, Washington residents voted to pass Initiative 901. The initiative prohibits smoking in all public places. The definition of "public place" includes bars, restaurants, bowling centers, skating rinks, and non-tribal casinos. The definition also includes private residences used to provide childcare, foster care, adult care, or similar social services, and at least 75 percent of the sleeping quarters within a hotel.

RCW 70.160 (Initiative 90)

Kittitas County Smoking and Vaping in Public Places Ordinance and Enforcement Information

No Smoking or Vaping

No Smoking -