Cigarettes and e-cigs



Icon of a pack of cigarettes and a lighterCigarettes

Your health

  • More than 480,000 people a year in the U.S. die from cigarettes. More than 41,000 of those died from secondhand smoke exposure. Break it down – that’s 1,300 deaths every day, making smoking the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.
  • There are about 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, they create more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 70 of those are known to cause cancer and many are poisonous. Secondhand smoke exposes people to the same risks.
  • Cigarette smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
  • Smoking also increases the risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases and immune system problems including rheumatoid arthritis.
  • In 2017, nearly 7 in 10 adult smokers wanted to stop; more than 5 in 10 made a quit attempt in the past year.

Our environment

  • One tree is killed to make just 15 packs of cigarettes – less than a single carton.
  • About 1.69 billion pounds of butts end up as toxic trash each year, making cigarettes the most littered item on earth.

Big tobacco spends big

  • $8.9 billion was spent on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in 2015. That’s more than $24 million a day – about $1 million every hour.

Icon of a vape stickE-cigarettes

 What’s in them?

  • Truth is, it can be anything. E-cigarettes aren’t evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and there aren’t any rules about what manufacturers can put in them.
  • Nicotine is generally the main ingredient. It’s a highly addictive drug that poses dangerous health risks. Because there’s no regulation, a product can call itself nicotine-free but still contain an abundance of the drug.
  • E-cigs use liquid nicotine, which is extracted from tobacco. Ingesting even a small dose can be very dangerous.

Your health and money

  • E-cig users are at the same risk for cancers as regular cigarette smokers.
  • Electronic cigarettes can still emit secondhand smoke, putting people around the smoker at risk.
  • Health experts and regulatory agencies aren’t sure of the full dangers of e-cigarettes yet. It’s a “smoke at your own risk” situation.
  • There’s no scientific proof that e-cigs are a safe or effective way to quit smoking.
  • Just like regular cigarettes, e-cigs are expensive. Consider the costs of starter kits, replacement cartridges and liquids.

E-cigs and kids

  • The number of middle school and high school students using e-cigs continues to rise exponentially each year, even as use of regular cigarettes drops.
  • It’s easy for minors to get e-cigarettes online and in the community, at convenience stores or other retailers.

More dirty truth about vaping

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) shares some filthy facts in its new public information campaign. For example:

  • Nearly half of Masssachusetts high school students have tried e-cigs at least once...and nearly a quarter report using them in the past 30 days. That's a rate nine times higher than adults!
  • More high school students report using e-cigarettes than all other tobacco products combined.
  • One possible reason? There are nearly 8,000 flavors, many sweetened to appeal to younger users.

Vaping FAQs •  Tips for talking with kids about vaping

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