County Residents to be Asked to Share Thoughts on Vaping

 Health District Looks to Expand Smoking in Public Places Law


Source: Snohomish Health District


SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – To vape, or not to vape—in public—that is the question.  Amidst the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes and vaping, and rising ambiguity by business owners on whether it’s allowed in their establishments, the Snohomish Health District is evaluating options to prohibit vaping and vapor products in public places.

E-cigarettes and vaping products are not regulated the same way cigarettes are. This leads to public health concerns about potential exposure to the unknown mixture of chemicals in the vapor, as well as the rise in teens and young adults using this new type of addictive nicotine product.

“This is not about telling someone what they can and can’t do in private,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer and director of the Snohomish Health District. “Instead, this is part of our role in public health to make sure the most vulnerable are protected. This includes our youth, pregnant women, and those with compromised health. That is our primary concern.”

The Smoking in Public Places Law was passed in 2005, making Washington the 10th state in the country to implement a law prohibiting smoking in all restaurants and bars, as well as the 5th state to require that 100 percent of all indoor workplaces be smoke-free. In January 2015, the Health District created Chapter 13 of the local code, which clarified places of employment and that the law applied to marijuana and hookah smoking, as well as to cigarettes.

“This review of vaping will help the Board of Health better understand the issues as it considers incorporating vaping into the smoking in public places law,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “We have been following the rapid increase in vaping, particularly among our youth, and we believe now is the right time to address use in public places.”

At the June 9 board meeting, staff presented a brief update and a recommended timeframe for continuing to evaluate the issue. The board endorsed the schedule and agreed to form a subcommittee, starting with its first meeting on July 1.

“This first meeting is really to allow our subcommittee the chance to dig into the details of vaping and vapor products, and to ask questions of staff,” said Heather Thomas, communications and public affairs officer for the Health District. “We also want to engage the community in this process over the next few months to ensure any changes to our local code are done with the health and well-being of Snohomish County residents in mind.”


·   The first subcommittee meeting will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1 in the Snohomish Health District’s Auditorium at 3020 Rucker Ave., Everett, Wash. The meeting is open to the public, but no comment will be taken at this initial meeting.

·    Following the first meeting, a preliminary comment period will be open from July 6-31. There will be a series of 4-5 questions that the community will be asked to respond to via either email, online survey or mailed in responses. Details for the comment period will be released closer to the opening date.

·   A second meeting will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21 at a location to be announced later. This will be a public listening session where the subcommittee hears feedback from the community on the issue.

·   The subcommittee will reconvene in mid-August to review the comments received, and a recommendation for next steps is expected to be presented to the full board in September.


A webpage has been created for this process, and the public is encouraged to visit This page will be kept updated with details for the meetings and comment period, as well as links to resources and educational materials.

The Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats.  Incorporated in 1959, Snohomish Health District is separate from Snohomish County government, although it provides financial support and is an essential partner in many functions. To read more about Snohomish Health District and for important health information, visit

Event for moms celebrates breastfeeding


Premera Blue Cross recognized for supporting working women

 Source: Snohomish Health District
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Pregnant women, moms, and their families are invited to the Snohomish Health District clinic in Lynnwood on Aug. 15 to celebrate National Breastfeeding Month.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) / First Steps Clinic at 6101 200th St. SW, Lynnwood. Refreshments, medical and dental resources, family services, and information about WIC services and breastfeeding support will be on hand.
Breast milk is the preferred source of nutrition for infants and is recommended for the first year of life. Breastfeeding can protect both babies and mothers from many chronic health conditions and builds a foundation for life-long wellness.
One way WIC supports clients who are working moms is by providing breast pumps to loan, as well as offering classes and peer advice for breastfeeding women. Most parents who receive WIC services have jobs, but are low income and benefit from monthly food checks worth $50-$100.
The WIC nutrition program serves almost half of all children born in Washington state, and about 7,000 moms and children under age 5 are Snohomish Health District WIC clients. To learn if you are eligible for WIC or for other family services, contact the Family Health Hotline at 1.800.322.2588.
Also on Aug. 15, Premera Blue Cross will be honored with a Healthy Communities Award from Snohomish Health District. The award is presented to honor organizations that have adopted promotion programs or policies that support healthy choices for the people they serve or employ.
Premera is being recognized for providing exemplary pumping rooms for their employees who are breastfeeding. Each of the five buildings on Premera’s Mountlake Terrace Campus has at least one clean and private room for breastfeeding employees, along with an easy scheduling system and separate refrigeration dedicated for breast milk storage. Their facilities demonstrate Premera’s commitment to family-friendly employment and best practices for infant nutrition. 
Premera employs approximately 2,300 people at their Snohomish County Mountlake Terrace campus and provides medical coverage for over 1.7 million people in Washington and Alaska.
A current Premera employee states, “I had nothing but a pleasant experience with my employer, Premera Blue Cross. It is easy to schedule a time to be able to go and pump so that I could continue breastfeeding after returning to work”.
Incorporated in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats.

Snohomish Health District recognizes World Hepatitis Day

Vaccination, testing and treatment can limit liver damage
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Liver damage and liver disease caused by viruses kill more people in the U.S. each year than HIV/AIDS. Hepatitis C is the most common of those viruses that attack the liver. In Snohomish County, 649 people were found to have hepatitis C last year. Hepatitis B affected 263 local people in 2013.
Most people with a liver virus don’t know they have it until the disease has caused serious liver damage. New medications for treating hepatitis C can cure the disease and prevent the need for liver transplants or liver cancer treatment in the future.
Testing for hepatitis C can be as easy as a prick of your finger and 20-minutes for your results. Testing is recommended for everyone born between 1945 and 1965, since baby boomers are five times more likely to have the virus. The cost is covered by health insurance.
People who inject illegal drugs – even just once years ago – are another group at risk for getting viral hepatitis.
The Snohomish Health District works to prevent and limit the spread of viral hepatitis by testing and offering vaccines to people most at risk. A nurse regularly visits the Snohomish County Needle Exchange, jails, treatment centers, and homeless shelters as part of the agency’s public health outreach program.
“A discouraging trend is an increase in hepatitis C among young people who use drugs,” said Nurse Kathy Perkins, of the Hepatitis Outreach Program. “People with hep C die 23 years earlier than average. Doctors need to talk to their patients, assess risks, test for and treat viral hepatitis.”
Vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and B are recommended for people at risk. There is no vaccine against hepatitis C.
The Snohomish Health District will have information about viral hepatitis in its Everett building and at local libraries to recognize World Hepatitis Day on July 28. Learn more at
Incorporated in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats.

Emergency meeting on June 27 to discuss state budget impacts on Snohomish Health District operations

Source: Snohomish County Health District
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — In the absence of a state budget, the Snohomish County Board of Health will convene for a special emergency meeting at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, June 27 in the Snohomish County Council Chambers, 8th floor of the Robert J. Drewel Building, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., Everett, Wash.
The state has made clear that local agencies will not be paid for state-funded services during a shutdown.  In order to continue most Snohomish Health District programs, the Board will be asked to approve spending from reserves for the first two weeks of July. A state shutdown will cost the Health District about $30,000 a day.  As a result of the shutdown, state-issued checks to purchase healthy foods through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program will not be issued, however other WIC services will continue to be provided.
Should the state budget impasse continue, the Board will consider convening a regular meeting July 9th to determine program reductions and service suspension.     
If a state budget is approved prior to the Health Board emergency special meeting, the session will be cancelled immediately. Notice of cancellation will be posted at the county council chambers, at Health District offices in Everett and on the Health District’s website at
The Snohomish County Board of Health sets countywide public health policy, enacts and enforces local public health regulations, and carries out other duties of local boards of health specified in state law. These duties include enforcing state public health statutes, preventing and controlling the spread of infectious disease, abating nuisances, and establishing fee schedules for licenses, permits and other services.
For additional information about the board meeting or to request reasonable accommodations, please contact Lorie Ochmann, 425.339.5210; relay 711;
Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier Snohomish County through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Find more information about the Health Board and the Health District at

Free Health & Beauty Fair March 9

Empowering women of color to make their health a priority

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash.— In honor of National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day the Snohomish Health District is partnering with local and federal agencies to host a free Health & Beauty Fair for Women of Color on Saturday, March 9 at Edmonds Community College, and a free HIV testing day for women on March 12.

Racial and ethnic minority women experience higher rates of obesity, cancer, diabetes and HIV. “We want to remind women that with just a few simple steps, they can make great strides in preserving their health,” said Brenda Newell, Snohomish Health District HIV/STD/VHO program manager.

The Women of Color Health & Beauty is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 9 in the Woodway Building off 204th Street, near the golf course. It features inspirational speakers, health screenings, beauty services, community health resources, and a light lunch – all free.

Free Health Screenings

– Cholesterol, diabetes and BMI Screening

– Rapid HIV testing

– Breast and cervical health resources

– Flu and whooping cough vaccinations


Free Beauty Services

– Eyebrow waxing and skin care demonstrations

– Manicures

– Natural hair styling tips

– Nutrition and exercise resources, plus a Zumba class

This event is sponsored by AIDS Project Snohomish County, Edmonds Community College, Medical Reserve Corps, Molina Health Care, Office of Women’s Health – Region X, Snohomish Health District Verdant Health and the YWCA. For more information on the event, visit


Women’s HIV Awareness Day Free Testing March 12

In honor of National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day, all women ages 14+ who have had any risk for HIV transmission qualify for free, rapid HIV testing on March 12.  The test involves a simple pin-prick to the finger, resulting in a tiny drop of blood, and only takes 30 minutes – including results.

No appointment is necessary, just stop by between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 12 at Snohomish Health District Suite 106, 3020 Rucker Avenue, Everett. For more information, call 425.339.5298 or visit