Smokefree Environments

Tobacco costs Wyoming over $680 million annually1 in healthcare costs and productivity losses. Tobacco use is also a known risk factor for four out of the five leading causes of death in Wyoming (in order: heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and stroke)[1]. Research also shows that nearly 9 out of 10 current smokers begin before the age of 19, and 99% by the age of 26[2] [3].

We know that if we can prevent young people from starting, help those who use tobacco to quit, and foster smokefree environments, we can positively impact the health of Wyoming residents and greatly reduce the burden of tobacco on our communities.

The PMO uses environmental strategies to achieve policy change on a local level and works with the Wyoming Department of Health to support tobacco-related media campaigns promoting the Wyoming Quit Tobacco Program and deterring youth initiation. Our local CPSs address e-cigarette use by helping develop school and community policies that include all nicotine delivery devices.

To further inform our tobacco prevention efforts, in 2016 we completed a survey of Wyoming schools to determine those who lack comprehensive tobacco prevention policies. This was done in partnership with the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC) to determine the number of school districts and schools that have adopted 100% tobacco-free policies (covers all tobacco products, at all times, by all people, in all places). The results of this survey will be used to inform our community prevention staff and their coalitions about those communities in need of technical assistance to strengthen their local schools’ tobacco-free policies.  Utilizing the model policy developed by the PMO, our community prevention staff will work with their coalitions and local schools to adopt the model policy. Currently, there are 17 out of 46 school districts across the state that have achieved a 100% tobacco-free status, in addition to 8 individual schools.

The PMO also supports tobacco compliance checks in partnership with local law enforcement to help reduce youth retail availability for tobacco and work directly with local businesses and agencies to increase the number of smokefree environments and communities. To date, we have helped create a total of 73 smokefree environments.

A snapshot of local policies established:

Albany County – The CPSs worked with law enforcement, members of their local ATOD coalition, as well as community partners and previous Smokefree Laramie coalition members, to educate city council members on e-cigarettes.  This was done to help work toward keeping the intent of the Laramie smokefree ordinance intact, as there were no provisions in the ordinance about the use of e-cigarettes in restaurants, businesses, or other public places where smoking was not allowed. The CPSs were successful in not only getting e-cigarettes added to the existing ordinance, but also an ordinance was added that made it illegal for the sale of e-cigarettes to minors or for them to possess them.

Johnson County – In Buffalo, data was pulled together regarding high school student tobacco use, including PNA and BRFSS data, which showed not only a high use of tobacco, but that parental attitudes were favorable toward teen tobacco use. However, 78% of citizens supported smokefree restaurants and workplaces.  As a result of collaborations between the local CPS, business owners, and healthcare providers, the following smoke/vape/tobacco-free policies were established: The Bomber Mountain Civic Center adopted a smokefree/vape-free policy which prohibits use with 30 feet of entrances; two historic, long-standing bars/restaurants (the Cowboy Saloon & LakeStop Resort) went smoke and vape-free, and the Johnson County HealthCare Center (hospital) adopted a tobacco-free campus policy. Great optimism exists, based on a testimonial from a community partner, that “A completely smoke-free Buffalo is indeed possible.”

Campbell County – In Gillette, at the American Legion Executive Board Meeting, Gillette Roughrider’s Coach Nate Perleberg formally asked the Board to make Roughrider’s Stadium 100% Tobacco Free.  The Executive Board unanimously voted in favor of the 100% Tobacco Free Policy which prohibits the use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaporizers, and smokeless forms of tobacco on all stadium grounds. The Roughrider’s worked with the Campbell County Prevention Council (CCPC) and the Prevention Management Organization of Wyoming to create signage to promote the new stadium policy. On April 22nd Coach Perleberg met with Keith Howard of the CCPC and Brett Hansen from Sign Boss to install the new signs.  With assistance from the Prevention Management Organization of Wyoming, a billboard and program ad announcing the new 100% Tobacco Free policy was displayed.

Sample of tobacco-free signage from Gillette:

Fremont County—The City of Riverton took action in 2016 on two separate tobacco policies.  The first was to revise the Minor in Possession of Tobacco ordinance.  The original ordinance was only a $25 fine and there was no mention of e-cigarettes.  The changes made were to make the fine up to the judge so that they could take into consideration the juveniles past history and make sure that they are being held more accountable.  The ticket was also made into a must appear so that the juvenile can’t just pay the fine without parent knowledge.  They also added e-cigarettes and vaping devices to the list of tobacco products.  They are hoping that in doing such, law enforcement will be able to ticket any minor that has a vaping/e-cigarette device in their possession and not have to go through the process of testing the device for nicotine.  The second policy that they worked on was the Youth Sports fields wanting to be able to determine their own smokefree status even though they are a city owned property.  The City Council passed a resolution allowing those organizations to determine their own substance use status.  Riverton Junior Football League, Riverton Elks Legion Raiders, Riverton Babe Ruth and Riverton Youth Soccer Association all voted and posted signage of their smokefree/vape free/alcohol-free status.

[1] Top 5 Causes of Death in Wyoming, Vital Records, WDH, 2014

[2] The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014

[3] Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014