Vicki Barron: Eliminate smoke

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— Friday marks the five-year anniversary of a state law designed to protect Coloradans from exposure to secondhand smoke. The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act was passed by the General Assembly in 2006 and went into effect on July 1 of that year. The law prohibits smoking in indoor public areas such as restaurants, bars and workplaces.

We’ve made great strides in Colorado and in Steamboat Springs toward protecting our residents from secondhand smoke and helping to keep them healthy. In fact, the city of Steamboat Springs adopted the City of Steamboat Springs Smoke-Free Air Act in 2005, one year prior to the adoption of the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act.

We know that eliminating smoke exposure is critical to protecting public health. And we know that policies that prohibit smoking can result in positive health effects. But, the battle to protect our community from tobacco extends beyond cigarettes and secondhand smoke exposure. All tobacco products are dangerous, and although Colorado law makes it illegal to sell tobacco to anyone under 18, youths continue using tobacco and most start before 18.

As with the adoption of the Smoke-Free Act of 2005, the city of Steamboat Springs is once again leading the state in considering the adoption of another effective anti-tobacco policy. The N-CTRL (non-cigarette tobacco retailer licensing) ordinance will license retailers of non-cigarette tobacco products. The annual licensing fee will be used for local enforcement of the state law that prohibits the sale of tobacco to anyone under 18. Local tobacco retailer licensing programs that include retailer fees that sustain the program have been proven to be the most effective policy at reducing illegal sales of tobacco by merchants and will prevent youth initiation to tobacco.

For information about N-CTRL visit www.supportnctrl.org or call Vicki Barron at 970-875-1883.

Vicki Barron, RN, AE-C

Community health educator,

Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association

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