BEAVER, UT – The Beaver County Commission recently passed an outdoor smoking ordinance restricting tobacco use on county property to at least 100 feet away from a public building entrance. Beaver County joins over 60 other counties and cities in Utah that have adopted outdoor smoking policies.
"I am pleased that the county is encouraging and supporting these tobacco-free zones," says Tammy Pearson, Beaver County Commissioner. "This will keep our public areas clean, prevent exposure to secondhand smoke, and reinforce the message to our children that tobacco use is a health risk to everyone."
Research shows that public tobacco policies play a part in discouraging youth from beginning to smoke when the community supports healthy environmental norms. “Creating a healthy environment through consistent messaging at home, school, the work place and the public is key for our youth because 90% of adult smokers start on or before the age of 18," says Clint Albrecht, Health Educator for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department (SWUPHD). Coupled with the fact that nearly 80% of adult smokers want to quit, it makes sense to help kids avoid smoking in the first place.
Despite significant declines the past few decades, tobacco use remains a public health challenge. Smoking continues to be the #1 preventable killer in our country, taking 480,000 lives annually. Nearly 50,000 of those premature deaths are linked to exposure to secondhand smoke. About half of all Utahns are exposed to secondhand smoke in outdoor settings on a weekly basis.
For more information on the new Beaver County ordinance, visit www.beaver.utah.gov. For adults and youth wanting to quit smoking, cessation services can be found at www.waytoquit.org, 1-800-QUIT-NOW , or the SWUPHD website (www.swuhealth.org).