Numerous studies have found that tobacco smoke is a major contributor to indoor air pollution, and that breathing secondhand smoke is a cause of disease, including lung cancer, in nonsmokers. At special risk are children, elderly people, individuals with cardiovascular disease and individuals with impaired respiratory function, including asthmatics and those with obstructive airway disease.
Health hazards induced by breathing secondhand smoke include lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory infection, and decreased respiratory function, including broncho-constriction and broncho-spasm.
The United States Surgeon General and other authoritative public health authorities have determined that involuntary inhalation of tobacco smoke (a) is a cause of numerous diseases in healthy nonsmokers; (b) is a major contributor to indoor air pollution; (c) places children, unborn children of pregnant women, elderly people, and individuals with cardiovascular and/or respiratory disease at special risk; (d) is a trigger for acute episodes of respiratory distress; (e) increases the lifetime exposure to carcinogenic tobacco smoke of both smokers and nonsmokers; (f) burdens the health care system by increasing the number and frequency of required hospital admissions and emergency visits thereby increasing the public and private expenditures required for the treatment; (g) reduces the life expectancy of persons consistently exposed to secondary smoke; and (h) causes substantial losses in productivity through smoking related absences from work and school.
High-tech smoking devices, commonly referred to electronic cigarettes, or "E-cigarettes," closely resemble and purposefully mimic the act of smoking by having users inhale vaporized liquid nicotine created by heat through an electronic ignition system. After testing a number of e-cigarettes from two leading manufacturers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that various samples tested contained not only nicotine but also detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, including tobacco-specific nitrosamines and diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze. The FDA's testing also suggested that quality control processes used to manufacture of these products are inconsistent or non-existent. E-cigarettes produce a vapor of undetermined and potentially harmful substances, which may appear similar to the smoke emitted by traditional tobacco products. Their use in workplaces and public places where smoking of traditional tobacco products is prohibited creates concern and confusion, and leads to difficulties in enforcing smoking prohibitions. E-cigarette use among middle and high school age students significantly increases the risk of nicotine addiction and use of conventional cigarettes.
The United States Surgeon General and other authoritative public health authorities have determined that clean indoor regulations prevent disease by contributing to the reduction of the rate of smoking and nicotine addiction among the general populations and by discouraging potential new smokers from becoming addicted to smoking.
To this end, the Nicholas County Board of Health promulgated the Nicholas County Smoke Free Workplace Regulation of 2014 (pamphlet copy) effective August 15, 2014 according to W.Va. Code § 16-2-11(b)(3). The goals of this regulation are:
- To protect the public health and welfare by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment.
- To guarantee the right of nonsmokers to breathe smoke-free air, and to recognize that the need to breathe smoke-free air shall have priority over the desire to smoke.
- To facilitate smoking cessation by active smokers.
- To discourage youth from taking up the habit and thereby developing a nicotine addiction.
Within Nicholas County, smoking and use of electronic cigarettes is prohibited in all enclosed places including, but not limited to:
- Restrooms & common areas of public buildings
- Public transit
- Service lines
- Retail stores
- Public & employee access areas of businesses & non-profit organizations
- Sports arenas & convention halls
- Public & governmental meeting halls
- Health care facilities
- Common areas of housing complexes
- Polling places
- Bingo halls
- Auction houses
- Enclosed shopping areas & flea markets
- Fire departments
- Emergency medical services
- Bars & taverns
- Video lottery establishments
- Hotels, motels, inns & cabins
Violations of this regulation is punishable by law.
"No Smoking" signage is available in limited quantities through Nicholas County Health Department.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2014). Summary of results: laboratory analysis of electronic cigarettes conducted by FDA. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm173146.htm.
Arrazola, R. A., Neff, L. J., Kennedy, S. M., Holder-Hayes, E., & Jones, C. D. (2014). Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students - United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 63(45), 1021-1026. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6345a2.htm?hc_location=ufi.