For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Oxarart
775.328.2414 or 775.276.1021
Our communities took unprecedented steps to meet the challenge of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nevada. Lives were saved, and illnesses prevented through the individual and collective actions of the people who live, work, and choose to visit our great state. As we continue on the road to recovery, the Carson City Health and Human Services, Southern Nevada Health District and Washoe County Health District encourage all businesses to protect the health of their customers, staff, and community through voluntary tobacco-free policies. Evidence is showing that smokers are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing complications from the virus.
As businesses employ measures to comply with issued guidance and directives, they can also implement policies that will prohibit the use of tobacco products in their establishments. These voluntary measures are allowed under the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act and would protect both patrons and staff. Businesses cannot adequately reinforce the proven risk reduction strategy of wearing face coverings while also allowing smoking. The primary mode of transmission of the virus is through person-to-person spread of respiratory droplets. As people remove face coverings to smoke or vape, they are exhaling respiratory droplets over a longer distance. The act itself requires individuals to more frequently touch their face and mouths – another direct contradiction to recommended COVID-19 prevention strategies. Handwashing recommendations become ineffective for people who are repeatedly touching their mouths and faces and then contaminating high-touch surfaces in public places.
As the local health authorities charged with protecting the public health of Nevada’s residents and visitors, we also advise anyone who currently uses tobacco products, including vaping products, to quit by calling the Nevada Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) from a Nevada area code.