The Smoke-Free Arizona Act went into effect nearly 10 years ago on May 1, 2007. The Act prohibits smoking inside and within 20 feet of entrances, open windows, and ventilation systems of most enclosed public places and places of employment. Our Smoke-Free Arizona Program is responsible for education, compliance, and enforcement of the Act statewide and works with counties to ensure that Arizonans are protected from secondhand smoke exposure.

In 2012, we began visiting each county health departments to conduct on-site assessments to ensure uniform education and enforcement of the Act statewide. The assessment visits occur every two years and are intended to provide counties with a platform to showcase their educational and outreach efforts, share experiences, highlight strengths, seek guidance and detail their standard operating procedures.

Our 2016 county health department assessments began in March last year and concluded in January 2017. The assessments not only give the Smoke-Free Arizona Program an opportunity to become more familiar with how the counties operate their programs, but also to improve communication between partners and provide feedback and resources that are geared toward creating Smoke-Free programs that are consistent statewide. The assessments also strengthen communication and partnership for providing quality education and services to business owners and the general public.

The 2016 county assessments were a successful opportunity for training and collaboration. As the Smoke-Free Arizona Program moves forward, these assessments will only continue to prove valuable in ensuring the health of Arizonans. We thank our county partners in their continued efforts to protect Arizonans from the dangers of secondhand smoke.