Washoe County voters passed two measures meant to give local government the power to regulate tobacco use in public places, but voted not to add fluoride to their water.
Question 8 asked voters if Washoe County should have control of their smoking regulations, while Question 9 asked if smoking should be prohibited in places frequented by children.
“It’s a tremendous first step in the fight to give local communities the choice to protect children from second-hand smoke and prevent them from smoking in the first place,” said Kendall Stagg, policy manager for the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition.
“Our state legislature should take heed of the voters wishes and that is that Nevadans should be allowed to make decisions on tobacco on the local level,” Stagg said.
He said in February he and other members of the coalition will present their case to the state legislature. Previous requests to give local governments the choice to regulate tobacco were unsuccessful, but with the advisory measure, the coalition is hopeful, Stagg said.
“It will be very difficult for the legislature to ignore the wishes of the voters,” Stagg said.
The spokesperson for the organization against the initiative, the Nevada Retail Gaming Association, was unavailable for comment.
Meanwhile, Washoe County voters decided not to add fluoride to water.
“I am so pleased that people have seen through the deception and have voted to stop the dumping of toxic waste into our water supply,” said Mitch Lau, a member of the Reno chapter of the Fluoridation Information Network. “We have sent a clear message to Washoe County: Don’t mess with our water.”
Dr. Steven Vaughn, a Sparks dentist and member of the Northern Nevada Citizens for Healthy Smiles, said his organization has not decided whether it will continue to lobby for fluoridated water in Washoe County.
“There are a lot of problems that need to be addressed, and the best way to do it was with fluoridated water,” Vaughn said. “I’m very disappointed with the elections.”