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Fighting Commercial Tobacco. Together.

Washington Breathes is a statewide coalition of organizations and individuals working to eliminate the harmful use of commercial tobacco and other nicotine products.

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Improving Health In All Communities

Our Top Priorities

Restore Comprehensive Funding

Obtain sustainable funding to support comprehensive commercial tobacco education, prevention, and treatment programs throughout the state.

Improve Access To Cessation Treatment

Ensure effective, culturally and linguistically appropriate nicotine cessation strategies and support are available and provided to all who seek it – including youth.

Address Disparities

Improve understanding of the disproportionate impact of commercial tobacco products on specific communities and tailor support services/messaging to the specific needs of that community.

Support Healthy Youth

Support policies, programs, and funding that educate youth on the harms of commercial tobacco use and support them in cessation efforts, working towards a future nicotine-free generation.

Eliminate Flavored Products

Educate on the harms of flavors - including menthol - and support policies that expand flavor restrictions and bans to reduce initiation and disparities.

Restore Local Authority

Explain the benefits of local laws and policies that reflect community interests and solve local problems caused by sales and marketing of commercial tobacco products and the harmful impacts of preemption.

The Tobacco Industry Spends $87 Million Each Year on Marketing in WA State Alone

That's more than 20 times Washington's state investment of about $4 million this year for prevention strategies and cessation programs to reduce smoking and vaping.

Learn About Restoring Comprehensive Funding
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Featured Issues

Supporting Pride & Improving LGBTQ+ Health

We're celebrating Pride Month in June and recognizing the efforts of our member and partner organizations to support commercial tobacco free LGBTQ+ communities!

The LGBTQ+ community uses commercial tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, at higher rates than heterosexual/straight people. LGBTQ+ people are also exposed to secondhand smoke at higher levels than the general population. Reasons for higher use rates include stress from societal prejudices and well-documented aggressive marketing by tobacco companies. The tobacco industry targets LGBTQ+ people through event sponsorships, product giveaways and promotions, and advertising, and has been doing that for decades.

Despite attempts to hook LGBTQI+ communities, queer folks are quitting tobacco and helping their friends, chosen family, and community members quit too. LGBTQ+ organizations and their partners are fighting back with educational and policy campaigns to stop industry targeting, create smoke and vape-free community spaces, and overcome barriers to cessation services for LGBTQ+ people.

Dismaying Federal Menthol Rule Delay

In late April 2024, Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra announced an indefinite delay on issuing FDA's proposed rules to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, citing the need for "more conversations". A wide array of health and social justice organizations are dismayed by this delay and vow continued actions to save lives.

Ending the sale of menthol cigarettes in the U.S. could prevent more than 650,000 deaths, including over 250,000 Black lives.

The tobacco industry and industry-funded organizations lobbied for the White House for this delay. They raised familiar, but unfounded, claims that a menthol cigarette ban would result in police targeting of smokers who are Black. That's false: enforcement of a sales ban would be on manufacturers, distributors, and retailers - not on individuals. Unproven political concerns were also raised about impacts on President Biden’s re-election.

Inaction at the federal level highlights the need for more state and local regulations - learn more: Policies Ending the Sale of Flavored Tobacco.

Learn more about saving Black lives by taking on Big Tobacco African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council

Press Statement: NAACP Condemns White House on Abandoning Menthol Ban

FDA fact sheet on proposed rules

Check out our Menthol & Nicotine Cessation fact sheet

Tobacco Use & Mental Health

In Washington State, 28% of adults with poor mental health smoke (WA DOH), compared to about 11% smoking in the overall population. The tobacco industry has played a role in these higher use rates with tactics like providing free cigarettes to behavioral health facilities and perpetuating myths that smoking is helpful for patients.

The solution is providing evidence-based nicotine cessation treatments. People with behavioral health conditions want to quit tobacco at the same rates as the general population. Quitting addictive nicotine helps decrease anxiety, depression, and stress.

Mental health is yet another reason why providing supportive services to young people who are vaping or smoking is so important. WA state data from the Healthy Youth Survey found that 58% of youth who smoke and 54% of youth who vape reported depression symptoms compared to 34% among youth who do not use commercial tobacco. (2018 WA HYS data)

Learn more about youth commercial tobacco use as a Red Flag for Supports.

WA State Department of Health Fact Sheet: Understanding tobacco use and behavioral health.

Learn more about Addressing Disparities in commercial tobacco use.

BHthechange.org website of the National Behavioral Health Network for Tobacco & Cancer Control.

A NEED FOR ACTION

The Numbers Speak for Themselves

Join Our Movement

104,000
youth will die prematurely from smoking

8,300
deaths from smoking each year

27%
of cancer deaths are due to smoking

$3.26 BN
in annual health care expenditures directly caused by commercial tobacco use

39th
WA's FY 2024 national rank for state investment in nicotine prevention & cessation

Important Dates

Mark your calendars!

View All Events

July 22-24

TopCon Conference: Tobacco Prevention

September 23

Scholarship Deadline for Fall Tobacco Treatment Specialist Training

September 25-26

Rural Prevention Conference

October 9-11

WA State Public Health Association Conference

October 30-31

WA State Prevention Summit