smoking

Julio Cortez / Associated Press

If you’re trying to quit smoking and you don’t have health insurance, it’s going to be harder to find help as of August 1. The state’s free tobacco quitline will be cutting services to the uninsured, due to budget cuts.

Those without insurance can get a little bullet-point advice from the quit counselor, but after that, they’re on their own. State Health Department spokesman Tim Church said the cutbacks will harm some of the most vulnerable.

Department of Health

For the first time since 1998, Washington is getting a new secretary of health. Mary Selecky is retiring, and her replacement starts today.

Selecky has been a familiar face during health emergencies, such as the pandemic flu. She made tobacco her top health priority, and saw smoking rates drop year after year. But, as she steps down, the anti-smoking crusade is at a crossroads.

Teen smoking rate drops below pot usage

Mar 14, 2013
Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Washington high school students who participated in a statewide health survey say they are twice as likely to smoke marijuana as cigarettes.

Overall, though, the trends show teenagers are drinking, smoking and abusing prescription drugs less than in the past.

In fact, 8th and 10th graders are half as likely to drink alcohol compared to those in 1998.

John Froschauer / AP

Washington banned indoor smoking nearly seven years ago, but one exception survives: hookah lounges.

Local health departments have struggled to shut them down. 

The lounges say they’re private clubs, not public venues, so the law doesn’t apply. They all charge some sort of membership fee, typically about $5.

That defense doesn’t sway health officials, like Frank DiBiase of the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department. His office inspected three hookah bars in Tacoma last year.

Anthony Posey / Flickr

Youth smoking is re-emerging as a concern in Washington. The US Surgeon General came to Seattle this week to give a pep talk to anti-smoking campaigners, who are coping with three years of drastic budget cuts.

If it seems like smoking is already on a perpetual decline, that's a mis-perception, said assistant Surgeon General Patrick O’Carroll, in an interview:

Federal health officials unveiled a graphic new anti-smoking campaign featuring testimonials from ex-smokers about the toll of tobacco on their health.

These aren't the usual public service announcements. The $54 million "Tips from Smokers" campaign marks the first time the federal government plans to pay to run anti-smoking ads nationwide, officials said.

Smoking is banned at work. It’s banned in restaurants and bars. But most smokers can still head home and enjoy as many cigarettes as they’d like. That’s starting to change, when it comes to apartment buildings. 

Simen Svale Skogsrud / Flickr

VANCOUVER, Wash. — The Vancouver City Council voted Monday to ban tobacco from city parks and recreation centers.

The council heard from at least one speaker who called the ban a form of discrimination.

montchr / Flickr photo

The ability to smoke a cigarette on college campuses is becoming a subject for the history books.

Several colleges in the Pacific Northwest have banned smoking – not only in and around buildings as required by law – but everywhere on school grounds.

Public Health Seattle & King County

Why spend $800,000 to advertise what seems like common knowledge?  That smoking is bad for you, that eating nutritious foods is better than a diet of fast-food and physical activity is a good idea?

Because too many of us have trouble following those golden rules.

Cigar aficionados could light up at their favorite bar under a bill up for a vote in the Washington Senate this week. The measure would allow cigar lounges in some bars and tobacco stores. But opponents of the change say it would overturn the will of Washington voters.

Gerry Broome / AP Photo

Just when you thought cigarettes were headed for obscurity, along comes the electronic cigarette.  The King County Board of Health is restricting these "e-cigarettes" in the name of protecting youth -- and keeping a stigma against smoking. 

examiner.com

Washington state ranks 11th among all states in overall health according to the  annual survey   "America's Health Rankings."  The survey is produced by the American Public Health Association, the United Health Foundation and Parnership for Prevention using data from a number of sources including the Centers for Disease Control.

AP

Washington state says it has evidence its anti-tobacco program is not only saving lives but saving money for taxpayers.  That comes as the program faces near elimination because of budget cuts.