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    Washington Bans Tobacco Soliciting at Concerts

    Smoking rate among young adults holding steady.

    New evidence from a study by the Washington Department of Health shows the smoking rates for people ages 18 to 29 in the state are holding steady at 28 percent, despite declines in other age groups, according to a report in The Western Front.

    Starting Memorial Day weekend and continuing through the summer, the Health Department will attempt to reduce this rate by collaborating with House of Blues Concerts Inc., Pacific Northwest Region to educate people about the dangers of smoking. The Health Department has officially banned tobacco companies from promoting and distributing samples of cigarettes at concerts in Washington state for the outdoor concert season, said Tim Church, communications director for the Washington State Department of Health.

    The plan between the Health Department and the House of Blues will be analyzed after this outdoor concert season and possibly put into effect again in the future.

    "This is a really important and exciting idea," said Church. "You don't ever see state and government agencies working with concert promoters."

    People are still able to smoke at concerts, Church said. This plan is just a way to get information to the public about the risks of tobacco. Because concerts are aimed at and have the highest attendance from 18- to 29-year-olds, Church said, they are an ideal place to start reducing tobacco use with fliers and information booths.

    "When people go to concerts, they're in a good mood," Church said. "They're excited and ready to have fun. It's a great time to get messages in front of them. We were tired of these messages being free cigarettes."

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