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Creating Tobacco-Free Spaces
Smoke from cigarettes and other burning tobacco products, as well as aerosol from e-cigarettes/vapes, can harm people nearby who are not using these products.
Tobacco-free spaces protect children and adults from sickness and disease and help people live healthy lives.
Tobacco-free spaces also help kids see the importance of never starting to use tobacco and keep outdoor spaces free of tobacco trash.
- Healthy environments for healthy living. Secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol can cause heart disease, cancer, breathing problems, and ear infections and can make asthma worse. Children, older adults, people with special health needs, and pregnant women are most at danger from exposure, even when outdoors.
- No tobacco trash.
- Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world.
- Butts are slow to break down and cost a lot to clean up.
- Tobacco litter can be deadly to wildlife and people. It can cause stomach problems and poisoning when eaten by fish and other aquatic animals. People who eat fish that have tobacco-related chemicals in their systems may also become sick.
- E-cigarettes have batteries that can leak heavy metals like mercury and lead, as well as battery acid, into the ground.
- Children often pick up e-cigarette trash and cigarette butts and place them in their mouths - putting them at risk for getting very sick or even dying.
- Butts and e-cigarettes that are still burning or are not turned off can cause fires and burns.
- Positive model for youth. Tobacco-free outdoor spaces show youth that being tobacco-free is common. Allowing commercial tobacco use in parks, on beaches, and in other recreation areas where youth and families with young children go sends a dangerous message. Commercial tobacco use is not what we want to show children. Tobacco-free outdoor spaces have been shown to help kids stay tobacco free.
Image credit: The Young Lungs at Play image is a small version of a poster developed by the Sault Tribe Housing Authority in partnership with the Sault Tribe Strategic Alliance for Health Project. Clicking on the image will take you to a larger version of the poster.
Being around secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol can lead to serious health problems, including lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke, and can make asthma worse in adults and children.
Secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol can get into apartments from many places, including vents and cracks in walls or floors. As e-cigarette use rises, the number of explosions and fires in the home is likely to increase.
Adding e-cigarettes to smoke-free housing policies is an easy way to limit property damage and keep cleaning costs down.
Since people spend more time at home than any other place, getting rid of tobacco smoke and e-cigarette aerosol in apartments and other housing can greatly improve the health of the people living there.
Tobacco is typically not allowed inside workplace buildings.
But, it's also important to create tobacco-free outdoor worksite campuses to encourage commercial tobacco users to quit and create a healthy workplace for all employees. Examples of tobacco-free outdoor worksite campuses include county office properties, hospital campuses, and the grounds of community agencies and businesses.