Health District celebrates 10th anniversary of
Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act
LAS VEGAS –
Today the Southern Nevada Health District joins public health partners and advocates in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act. The Act was passed by a majority of Nevada voters on November 7, 2006 and took effect on December 8 of that same year. This initiative was a tremendous milestone for public health and a win for the residents and visitors of Nevada who were afforded increased protections from secondhand smoke in many public places and indoor places of employment.
“We know that a primary function of smoke-free laws and policies is to protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District. “These laws can also motivate tobacco users to quit smoking and prevent the initiation of tobacco use in others, including our youth. This has proven to be true in the State of Nevada and in Clark County.”
Since the implementation of the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, adult smoking rates in Clark County have declined from 26.4 percent in 2005 to 12.6 percent in 2016. Youth smoking rates have also declined from 18 percent in 2005 to 5.9 percent in 2015.
Passage of the law has spurred many businesses and organizations to implement voluntary policies that go beyond the scope of the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act. Some businesses choose to go smoke-free when they could be exempt from the Act; others extend smoke-free policies to their entire campuses in order to protect people from secondhand smoke exposure in parking lots, near entrances, and windows.
Despite these gains there are still many public health challenges. Each year, approximately 1,500 Nevadans under age 18 become daily smokers. About 80 percent of adult smokers become regular smokers before the age of 18, and 4,100 Nevadans die from smoking-related illnesses each year. Although the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act was successful in removing secondhand smoke from many indoor environments, there were exemptions in the law that left many people exposed, and further exemptions were gained with a rollback to the voter-approved Act in 2011.
“The milestone achieved 10 years ago with the passage of the Nevada Clean Indoor Act cannot be understated,” said Dr. Iser. “However, all individuals deserve to be protected from secondhand smoke no matter what their job or where they work.”
In addition to these challenges, the fight against the tobacco industry now includes e-cigarettes and vaping products. In recent years, sales of e-cigarettes have grown dramatically with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration reporting that young people are using the products at a higher rate than conventional cigarettes. In 2011, 1.5 percent of high school students reported using e-cigarettes. In 2015, 16 percent of high school students reported using these products.
Use of e-cigarettes is increasing among adults as well, with 18-24 year olds reporting the highest rates of use. According to the 2014 National Health Information Survey, 21.6 percent of people in this age group have tried an e-cigarette.
An additional issue of concern is that of dual use. Marketing efforts by the e-cigarette industry encourage the use of its products where conventional cigarettes are not allowed. Approximately 80 percent of e-cigarette users cite this loophole for using e-cigarettes in smoke-free zones. The CDC reports that secondhand aerosol released from e-cigarettes can contain heavy metals and ultrafine particulates that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, as well as cancer-causing agents. Inhaling e-cigarette aerosol directly from a device or secondhand aerosol from an e-cigarette user is potentially harmful.