Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disability, disease, and death in the U.S., prematurely killing close to half a million adults each year from secondhand smoke exposure or smoking (1).
Knowing and understanding the dangers will help you create safe breathing environments as well as inform parents of the risks, myths, and preventive measures regarding secondhand smoke and aerosols (4).
Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer (5).
Smoking causes more deaths each year than the following causes combined (6):
Kids can get poisoned if they drink the liquid in e-cigarettes or refills. Kids can even get sick if the liquid gets on their skin. Because the candy flavors in many “vaping” solutions appeal to kids, a child might drink enough liquid to get seriously ill or even die (7).
Kids, adults, and pets can get nicotine poisoning (7).
Nicotine is highly addictive and consumption can harm developing brains, and can lead to nicotine addiction, mood disorders, permanent lowering of impulse control, and affect attention and learning abilities (8).
Youth’s bodies are more sensitive to nicotine and become addicted more quickly than adults. Even social smoking once or twice a month puts youth at serious risk for nicotine addiction that will keep them smoking longer and increase their chances of getting a serious disease (9).
One out of three teens who continue to smoke regularly will die prematurely – an average of 13 years earlier than their peers (9).
Smokeless tobacco products (such as, chew and snuff) also cause nicotine addiction (9).
Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and even experimenting with cigarettes one time increase your child’s chance of being hooked for life (9).
The cost of tobacco use is high – impacting families, employers, and our healthcare system. In Colorado, more than 5,000 people die each year from tobacco use (2). Tobacco use also contributes more than $1.8 billion in healthcare costs and more than $1.2 billion in lost productivity (2).Need Help Quitting?
A short (3-minute) video outlining the harmful components of tobacco in every stage of development, starting with growing the plant, manufacturing the product, to using it.
Myth: Use of e-cigarettes/”vapes” by young people might “protect” them from using traditional cigarettes.
Fact: There is no evidence to support this. Studies have shown that non-smoking youth who use e-cigarettes/”vapes” are more likely to try traditional cigarettes in the future than non-smoking youth who do not use e-cigarettes/”vapes.”
Myth: High school students try traditional cigarettes over e-cigarettes/”vapes.”
Fact: Among high school students and young adults who use tobacco, more use both e-cigarettes and burned tobacco products than use e-cigarettes/”vapes” alone. Research shows adults have a big influence on youth behavior. Setting clear expectations and being actively involved and supportive is associated with lowered risk of youth tobacco use.