Cigarette smoke

About Cigarette smoke

Smoking causes over a dozen cancers, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and many other diseases; it remains a leading cause of death in New York City (NYC). On average, people who do not smoke live about 10 years longer than people who do.

Additionally, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes cancer, heart disease and other illnesses in adults. Children exposed to smoke are more likely to have bronchitis, asthma attacks, ear infections, pneumonia and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The harms of e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes are devices that heat a liquid, called e-liquid into an aerosol that the user can inhale. Although e-liquids do not contain tobacco, they contain chemicals, usually including flavorings, and often contain nicotine, which is addictive. E-cigarette use (also known as vaping) can be especially harmful for young people because nicotine affects them in different ways than adults. Youth who use e-cigarettes are also more likely to try cigarettes.

E-liquid ingredients are not closely regulated, so the nicotine content, additives and flavorings can vary extensively. The long-term health effects of vaping are unknown, but the aerosol from heated e-liquids can contain other harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde, benzene, diacetyl and heavy metals. E-cigarettes are not approved by the FDA to help people quit smoking.

Other people nearby can be harmed by breathing in the harmful chemicals in e-cigarette aerosol in the air.

Environmental Exposure to Tobacco and E-cigarette Products

A person’s environment can affect how much they are exposed to tobacco and e-cigarette products and related marketing, as well as secondhand smoke and aerosol.

Higher levels of tobacco retailer density and proximity are associated with higher tobacco use. The tobacco industry’s marketing activities, including incentivizing retailers to display their products and ads, result in increased marketing and accessibility of products in communities with higher poverty. The tobacco industry has a long history of deceptive tactics and marketing to youth, communities of color, and other marginalized communities.

NYC’s Smoke Free Air Act prohibits smoking and vaping in most workplaces and public spaces, including inside restaurants and bars. Under the SFAA, any smoking or vaping is also banned in all indoor common areas of residential buildings with three or more units.

Find Out More

Everyone deserves the opportunity to be free from the harm that commercial tobacco and nicotine products can cause. To learn more about prevention and treatment resources, as well as how you can take action in your community visit these webpages and websites:

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Secondhand smoke at home (from outside sources)

Adults reporting secondhand smoke at home, from outside sources. Secondhand smoke, especially indoors, is bad for health - especially for the health of children.

Secondhand smoke at work

Adults reporting secondhand smoke at work. Secondhand smoke, especially indoors, is bad for health.

No smoke-free home policy

Adults without a smoke-free home policy. A smoke-free home policy can limit people's exposure to secondhand smoke, which is especially dangerous to children.

Tobacco retailers

Retail locations that sell tobacco products. Neighborhoods with higher densities of tobacco retailers increase access to tobacco and may increase smoking rates.

Cigarette smoking (adults)

Adults who are current smokers. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the USA. It causes many diseases and greatly harms health.

Cigarette smoking (youth)

High school students who smoked in the past 30 days (from when they were surveyed). Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the USA. It causes many diseases and greatly harms health.

Secondhand smoke at home

Adults reporting secondhand smoke at home. Secondhand smoke, especially indoors, is bad for health - particularly for the health of children.