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About Us

Washington Breathes invites you to join and get involved. Participation in our meetings is open to any organizations and individuals who support our Vision and Mission. Learn more about our coalition on this page, then find out ways to Get Involved.

Washington Breathes is a statewide coalition of diverse organizations and individuals working to eliminate the harmful use of commercial tobacco and other nicotine products. The coalition was formally launched in September 2022 after a strategic planning group worked together for more than a year to develop the coalition's foundation.

Our focus is on eliminating health inequities and creating healthier communities by changing policies, systems, and social dynamics that fuel the commercial tobacco epidemic. We educate and engage the community to support positive policy, systems, and environmental changes, but do not engage in lobbying actions or take positions on specific legislative proposals. We accomplish our work through our Steering Committee, our active workgroups, Commercial Tobacco Policy Change Learning Circles, and other project teams.

Our Vision

A healthier Washington, where commercial tobacco-related inequities are non-existent and where all people in our communities, across generations, are free from nicotine addiction, disease, and premature death caused by commercial tobacco.

Our Mission

To bring together diverse partners from a variety of sectors to build capacity, collaborate, increase understanding, support cessation, and develop policy, systems, and environmental changes aimed at eliminating inequities and the negative effects from commercial tobacco use, sales, and marketing.

Our Principles

Our Guiding Principles: 10 statements that serve as a compass as we work to reduce nicotine dependence and dismantle policies and systems that enable the harmful actions of the commercial tobacco industry:

Our Relationship Principles: 9 statements about how we do our work together by respecting diverse perspectives, using an equity lens, creating a supportive coalition culture, and developing trusting relationships:

Shared Terminology

Understanding each other is critical to our effective work as a coalition. For example, we say “commercial tobacco” to clearly differentiate from use of traditional tobacco by Indigenous peoples:

Commercial tobacco: manufactured and sold by the commercial tobacco industry, and is linked to addiction, disease, and death. Commercial tobacco includes any product that contains tobacco and/or nicotine, such as cigarettes, cigars, electronic cigarettes, hookah, pipes, heated tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and other oral nicotine products. Commercial tobacco does not include FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine patches or gum.

Traditional tobacco: Some American Indian tribes use tobacco as a sacred medicine and in ceremony to promote physical, spiritual, emotional, and community well-being. This traditional tobacco, which may be tobacco and/or other plant mixtures, is different from commercial tobacco and is used differently in sacred practices. When used appropriately, traditional tobacco is not associated with addiction and adverse health impacts.

We invite you to download our full list of Shared Terminology and Concepts for more explanations:

Steering Committee

Our Steering Committee is the central decision-making body that guides the work of the coalition. The Steering Committee is responsible for developing and managing the strategic plan, organizing workgroup recommendations into policy recommendations, guiding use of coalition funds, and supporting coalition growth and sustainability. Learn more about the committee:

Brandon Omernik (he/him)
Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Living Tobacco-Free Services - Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Briseida Chavez (she/her)
Marijuana/Tobacco Prevention and Education Specialist - Educational Service District 123

Brittany Bevis-Sciuto, MPH (she/her)
Healthy Communities Specialist, Prevention Services - Snohomish County Health Department

Brittany Grant, MPH (she/her)
Advocacy Director, Western Region - Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Carrie Nyssen (she/her)
Senior Director | Advocacy | AK, HI, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY - American Lung Association

Crystal Shen, MD (she/her)
Pediatrician, Legislative Committee Co-Chair of the WA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Cynthia Stark-Wickman, MED, CPP (she/her)
Prevention Coalition Director (retired)

Daynon Jackson (they/them)
Youth Advocacy Program Co-Manager - Seattle's LGBTQ+ Center: formerly Gay City

Elaine Ishihara (she/her)
Director - APICAT for Health

Fred Swanson (he/him)
Executive Director - Highline Schools Foundation

Heidi Glesmann, MPH (she/her)
Commercial Tobacco Program Manager | Youth Cannabis & Commercial Tobacco Control Prevention Program - WA Department of Health

JanMarie Ward (Chumash) (she/her)
Senior Public Health Policy and Project Advisor - American Indian Health Commission for Washington State

Micah Zimmermaker (he/him)
Youth Commercial Tobacco Prevention Coordinator | Youth Cannabis & Commercial Tobacco Control Prevention Program - WA Department of Health

Ray Horodowicz (he/him)
Prevention System Manager | Division of Behavioral Health & Recovery - WA Health Care Authority

Rebecca Bryant (she/her)
Community Relations Manager | Government & Community Relations - Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Scott Neal (he/him)
Tobacco and Youth Marijuana Prevention Program Manager - Public Health Seattle-King County

Trillium Swanson (she/her)
Prevention Services Manager - Coalition for Orcas Youth

Yajaira Lemus (she/her)
Public Health Educator - Benton-Franklin Health District

Member Organizations

We welcome new members! Learn more about working together and becoming a member of Washington Breathes.

Financial Support

The Washington State Department of Health’s Commercial Tobacco Prevention Program (DOH CTPP) is supporting the development and coordination of Washington Breathes through a state tobacco grant from the Centers for Disease Control, along with some state funding. DOH CTPP participates in the coalition as a member, serving on the Steering Committee. This partnership aligns with and enhances efforts to achieve the state’s commercial tobacco strategic plan (2021-2025).

A part-time coalition organizer position is currently funded through a contract with DOH CTPP. Contact our coalition organizer at


Have a question or a comment about Washington Breathes? Fill out our contact form below: