Communities Still Working to Better Protect Coloradans’ Health
Jefferson County – July 1, 2016 marks the ten-year anniversary of the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act (CCIAA), a bipartisan state law designed to help protect Coloradans from exposure to secondhand smoke. The CCIAA went into effect on July 1, 2006, and prohibits smoking in most indoor public places such as restaurants, bars and workplaces.
While the CCIAA has helped to protect the health and safety of Coloradans, there is still more work to be done to protect everyone from exposure to secondhand smoke and the aerosol emitted by electronic smoking devices (ESDs), such as e-cigarettes. Exemptions in the state law still permit smoking and vaping in certain workplaces, such as cigar/hookah bars and retail tobacco businesses, and too many workers and patrons are still exposed to secondhand smoke and aerosol. Additionally, outdoor areas, such as restaurant patios, entryways, parks, playgrounds and trails, are not currently covered by the CCIAA. Studies show that exposure to outdoor smoke can rival exposure to indoor secondhand smoke and lead to negative health effects.
The U.S. Surgeon General states that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Nationally, secondhand smoke kills 41,000 nonsmokers each year. Despite gains made in tobacco prevention in years past, tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and in Colorado. Nearly 500,000 deaths in the U.S. and 5,100 in Colorado can be attributed to smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoke-free laws protect everyone from the harms of secondhand smoke, support people in quitting tobacco and help prevent initiation of tobacco among youth.
The Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance is a group of community members, organizational partners, health advocates and tobacco prevention and control specialists working to reduce the toll of tobacco in Jefferson County and across Colorado. “We know that eliminating secondhand smoke and aerosol exposure is critical to protecting public health,” stated Alliance Co-Chair Dr. Lorrie Odom, MD. “The Tobacco-free Jeffco Alliance recommends communities adopt policies, such as strengthening smoke-free and vapor-free laws, in order to protect everyone from the dangers of being exposed to secondhand smoke or the aerosol from e-cigarettes.”
In an effort to protect people better, some Jefferson County communities have implemented local laws which make more workplaces and public places, including some outdoor public spaces, smoke-free. The cities of Arvada, Edgewater, Golden, Lakewood and Wheat Ridge have also prohibited the use of ESDs wherever smoking is not allowed. Community members are invited to get involved with the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance to continue improving the health of our communities. Alliance Co-Chair Dr. Charmaine Brittain, MSW, Ph.D. states, “The Alliance joins with our community to make Jefferson County the healthiest place to live and bring up our children. We encourage our community members to get involved and help us make it so."
Jefferson County Public Health continues to work toward reducing the toll of tobacco in our communities through sustainable solutions to the problem of tobacco use and exposure. To learn more about current initiatives and how to get involved, please visit www.tobaccofreejeffco.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call 303-275-7555.
or call 303-275-7555.