Tobacco Education & Prevention Partnership
breathe free tobacco education and prevention partnership a Boulder County Public Health program overlayed on an image of the Flatirons

Tobacco Education & Prevention Partnership

Reducing Tobacco Use in Boulder County

Tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death and disease in the nation and in Boulder County. Smoking and secondhand smoke contribute to heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, and increase the risk of pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear infections in children. Tobacco products and secondhand smoke not only harm human health, but they can harm animals and our community’s environment.

The Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership (TEPP) works to prevent tobacco-related deaths and diseases in Boulder County. Our priorities are to:

  • Reduce tobacco-related health disparities and address root causes of tobacco use
  • Provide tobacco-free spaces and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Prevent youth initiation of tobacco products
  • Support individuals who want to quit

Tobacco Prevention Strategies

Tobacco prevention has been changing rapidly with high rates of youth vaping across the nation. Learn more about strategies that protect youth from tobacco products.

Policy

Policy is one strategy that impacts the rates of tobacco use and youth vaping in Boulder County. There have been several policy changes at the local, state, and federal level in the last few years that aim to protect youth and decrease the overall use of tobacco products.

Youth Prevention

Youth prevention policies are put in place to protect youth from starting using tobacco products and include policies such as raising the age to buy tobacco products, increasing price, banning flavors, and instituting tobacco retailer licensing. Below are local policies that have been put in place since 2019.

Smoke-Free Protections

Expanding smoke-free spaces keeps our community healthy and free of secondhand smoke exposure, and also de-normalizes use for youth. Find a summary of smoke-free protections and regulations on the secondhand smoke accordion.

Addressing Social Determinants of Health

Many causes of tobacco use and factors determine what makes someone more likely to use tobacco products, many of which are determined by where someone lives and what environmental factors are at play. In public health, we call these social determinants of health. Although there are many factors at play regarding tobacco use, the social determinants of health that we address as a program are mental health and housing insecurity.

The Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership believes that in order to make sustainable change in tobacco use, we need to address the root causes of use, which is why tour work focuses on addressing the social determinants of health. The social determinants that we have chosen to focus on are what is most relevant to the Boulder County community and based on localized data and from engaging with individuals with lived experience.

Resources to Help You Quit

Quitting tobacco products is a journey and may take several attempts, but there are resources to help. Coaching, nicotine replacement therapy, and social support can all be important aspects of the quitting process and are offered in many of the programs included below.

Talk to your doctor about quitting and check with your insurance to see what medications are covered. Quitting often takes several different approaches, many of which are covered by insurance or offered for free or at a low cost.

Explore the following resources to help you or those that you care about to find the support they need to make the choice to quit and lead a healthier life.

Adults

Colorado Quitline

  • Free coaching sessions, and 8 weeks of nicotine replacement therapy for those 18 years and older.
  • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to get started.
  • Provide feedback for the Colorado Quitline.

Smokefree.gov

  • Programs that support all adults, including personalized support for older adults, veterans, teens, and Spanish-speaking communities.
  • Personalized quit plan and support through their online, text, or phone app programs.

Baby and Me Tobacco Free

  • Personalized help for prenatal and postpartum women.
  • Test tobacco free postpartum and you may be eligible to receive diaper vouchers.
  • Find a location near you.

Longs Peak Hospital Cessation Support Group

  • In-person support group sessions are offered.

Health First Colorado (Medicaid) Member Information

  • This guide is for those with this type of insurance. It has information on what cessation resources are covered.

Young People

My Life, My Quit

  • Free coaching, online or phone support, as well as additional information about tobacco products for young people.

All Facts, No Cap

  • Resources to help you or someone you care about quit vaping, stay vape-free, and live a healthier life.

Smoke Free Teen

  • Personalized quit plans, and online, text, or phone app supports for teens.

This is Quitting

  • Texting program that provides motivational messages and support to help young people quit.
  • This program is specific to vaping products.
  • Text DITCHJUUL to 88709 to get started.

This Free Life

  • Campaign that works to prevent and reduce tobacco use by those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Healthcare Providers

The following resources are for providers to be more knowledgeable about what supports are available for their patients.

Organizational Supports

Become an Ex

Freedom from Smoking

  • 8-session program with a trained facilitator that is conducted in community settings, workplaces, and hospitals.
  • Find a clinic near you.

Quit Curriculum for Organizations & Wellness Coaches

  • This curriculum is intended to provide a framework to guide conversation and provide support for individuals who are quitting.

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is a combination of the smoke emitted from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, vaping device, or cigar, and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers. This mixture contains more than 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic and dozens of which are known to cause cancer. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, even small amounts may have major implications on health and safety.

Report A Complaint Or Concern About Secondhand Smoke

Health Impacts

According to the US Surgeon General, secondhand smoke causes nearly 50,000 adult deaths in the United States every year. Even in small amounts, secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack, a heart attack, or even a stroke. In addition, secondhand smoke has been classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a known cause of lung cancer in humans (Group A carcinogen). It is estimated that over 7,000 lung cancer deaths have occurred in adult nonsmokers in the United States as a result of secondhand exposure.

Secondhand smoke poses a serious health risk to children. Health effects seen in children exposed to this type of smoke include increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections (such as bronchitis and pneumonia), increased risk of ear infections, increased severity, and frequency of asthma attacks, decreased lung function, and an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Secondhand smoke can impact your pets – exposure to this type of smoke can cause cancer, respiratory diseases, skin irritation, and ear, nose, and throat conditions.

The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act

The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act (CCIAA) has been updated to protect most indoor places from secondhand smoke and aerosol. Nearly all indoor public places are smoke and vape-free, including restaurants, bars, libraries, all hotel/motel units, theaters, common areas in multi-unit dwellings, and many other places. A building’s main entryway must also be smoke and vape-free and smoking or vaping should not take place within 25 feet of that entryway (unless otherwise stated by local code).

Local Regulations

Boulder County municipalities may have adopted stricter regulations regarding smoking and vaping, so be sure to check your local code. Property owners and managers are also allowed to implement stricter codes under the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, so check your workplace and organizational rules, too.

Exemptions

Individual units within multiunit housing, private homes, cigar bars, tobacco and vape retailers, limos under private hire, and marijuana tasting rooms are among the few exceptions to the law. In many cases, the Tobacco Education and Prevention (TEPP) Partnership can provide more information, community or provider education, and signage resources. Interested parties may contact TEPP with requests.

Tips to Meet Clean Indoor Air Requirements

Whether you are a business owner or a Boulder County resident, here are a few tips to make sure that the requirements of the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act are being met in the spaces you live, work, and play:

  • Learn more about the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act expansion and recent updates.
  • Do not allow smoking or vaping within 25 feet of the main entryway of your home or business.
  • Post no-smoking and no-vaping signs at all building or facility entrances.
  • In order to reduce secondhand smoke drift, try to avoid smoking or vaping near entryways, operable windows, or in outdoor areas where the public gather.
  • If possible, place ashtrays and other cigarette disposal containers at least 25 feet away from building entrances to reinforce minimum distance requirements.
  • Download our free sign template, smokefree factsheet, or request additional free resources from the Tobacco Education & Prevention Partnership.

Learn More

Report A Complaint Or Concern About Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand Smoke in Multiunit Housing

Secondhand smoke is a combination of the smoke emitted from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, vaping device, or cigar, and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, even small amounts may have major implications on health and safety. Secondhand smoke may cause or worsen health conditions and is especially impactful to older adults, individuals with respiratory conditions, pregnant women, children, and pets.

Housing Providers/Landlords

Secondhand smoke has no boundaries and can drift between units in a multi-unit dwelling through cracks in drywall, open windows, ventilation systems, and even plumbing. Secondhand smoke is more than a nuisance and individuals with chronic health conditions, older adults, pregnant women, and children are particularly at risk for health complications from exposure. In addition, damages to housing resulting from smoke may impact adjoining units, multiplying the financial impact of cleaning and repairs. Adopting a smoke-free policy is the only way to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing, protecting the health of your tenants and your building.

Report A Complaint Or Concern About Secondhand Smoke

Advantages of a Smoke-Free Policy

  • Save money: Cleaning and repairing a unit where smoking has occurred can cost 2 to 3 times more than cleaning a nonsmoking unit.
  • Protect property: There are over 7,500 smoking-related fires in residential buildings every year.
  • Attract residents: 87% of Coloradans have adopted smoke-free rules for their home, almost 90% of Boulder County adults don’t smoke, and the majority prefer smoke-free environments.
  • Ensure health: Up to 65% of air is shared between units in a multi-unit building. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke – even small exposures can cause health complications.
  • Retain property value: Thirdhand smoke may build up on surfaces, causing greater damage to property and greater toxicity to residents over time.

Tools & Resources to Help with Policy Implementation

no smoking within 25 feet of any buildingsign: welcome to our smoke-free propertysign: smoking in designated areas only

Residents

Since secondhand smoke can travel throughout a building from several entry points, the Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership encourages residents to keep a log of where and when they experience secondhand smoke drift and communicate with management about what they’ve been experiencing and how this exposure is affecting them.

Remember, smoke-free living does not require people to quit smoking, it provides protections to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. A documentation log can help start a conversation with management to help find a solution. Finding solutions and remedies can sometimes take time, but starting a dialogue with management is usually the first step.

Resources to Help Find Resolution

VAPE AWARE

Vape Aware

E-cigarettes or vaporizers are battery-operated devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution (or other substance) creating an aerosol that is inhaled into the lungs and released into the surrounding air. Information is still evolving on the long-term effects of these devices, but e-cigarettes and their components may pose a significant risk both to individual health and to the earth. Boulder County Public Health is doing its part to make sure these devices don’t end up in the environment and cause additional harm.

Health Risks

There are no e-cigarettes or vaporizers on the market that have been approved by the FDA to help people quit tobacco. Though they may help some adult smokers transition from cigarettes, they are not intended for use by youth. While Boulder County strives to support youth in making healthy choices, the county still experiences high rates of youth vaping.

Research on the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes is still emerging, but there are plenty of short-term risks to consider. E-cigarettes increase blood pressure, cause respiratory issues and diseases, can addict non-tobacco users to nicotine, affect the developing brain, and expose bystanders to secondhand smoke. Learn more about the health risks of these products.

Environmental Risks

Because vape devices contain many hazardous components, such as heavy metals, lithium-ion batteries, microplastics, and toxic chemicals, vape-related litter can cause considerable damage to the environment. If improperly disposed of:

  • E-liquid cartridges can leak nicotine into the environment. Nicotine is considered an acute hazardous waste, meaning that even in small doses, it may be lethal to humans, rats, or other animals.
  • The heavy metals and acid found within these batteries are not only corrosive to the environment but toxic to living beings.
  • While rare, batteries from vape devices can explode, posing a serious risk of injury.
  • Read The Truth Initiative’s full report on the harms vape devices pose to our planet.

These devices pollute our public lands, harm wildlife, and find their way into our drinking water. You can help protect our community by disposing of these devices properly.

Safe Storage & Handling

Tips for safe storage and handling of vape devices:

  • Keep devices and liquids out of harm’s reach when not in use. Consider keeping devices and components in a plastic container to avoid nicotine spillage.
  • Make sure all tops/lids are secure.
  • Keep loose batteries in a plastic case to prevent contact with metal objects.
  • If devices are leaking, place them in a resealable plastic bag.
  • Call the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center at 800-222-1222 if a child or pet swallows e-liquid or chews on a cartridge.

Proper Disposal

Currently, no standardized way to recycle e-cigarettes exists anywhere in the country. However, for the sake of the environment and the health of the public, e-cigarettes and e-liquids should be disposed of properly. While very little information exists on how to correctly dispose of these items and there are few resources that help consumers make responsible disposal choices are limited, Boulder County’s Hazardous Materials Management Facility will dispose of these devices safely and free of charge to Boulder County residents.

  • Because of the complex nature of these devices and the hazardous materials contained within them, devices must be disassembled, and each part must be handled and disposed of separately. HMMF has a team dedicated to ensuring the proper handling of these materials.
  • Residents can bring nicotine-only devices and e-liquids to HMMF directly for safe disposal.
  • Residents can also check out our list of partner vape stores here (link to partnership list and/or disposal map) to find a shop near you that accepts vape waste.
  • Partnerships with Ridwell and Happy Beetle help make our vape shop partnerships possible. These companies pick up hard to recycle materials (like your vape devices!) from participating local businesses and deliver them directly to HMMF, saving you the trip!

Keeping the environment clean in partnership with Ridwell and The Happy Beetle

Ridwell logo

the happy beetle logo

Youth Tobacco Use in Boulder County

Although smoking has been on the decline for young people over the last decade, there are still those who smoke and use other tobacco products. Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data shows us that 3% of high schoolers are currently using cigarettes.

Vape use among young people is still a growing concern as more young people become addicted to nicotine. The popularity and culture around vaping, as well as industry marketing tactics that target youth, are contributing to even younger generations using products that contain nicotine. The rate of youth vaping in Colorado and Boulder County continues to be a concern. The latest data available is from 2021 and shows that 16% of youth are current users, and 22% of youth who have vaped before, tried it for the first time before age 13. Learn more about vaping and the risks, harms, and impacts of vaping on the physical and mental health of young people.

While most of the focus lately has been on youth vaping, it is important to remember young people who are using more traditional tobacco products and what new and emerging products may be attractive to young people. Some products can be purchased at very low cost and come in a variety of flavors enticing to young people. The tobacco industry is constantly thinking of new products and ideas, and it is important to be aware of what new products are entering the market.

Certain People Are More Impacted by Tobacco

The intentional targeting of populations by the tobacco industry contributes to disparities in rates of tobacco use among certain groups of young people. Higher rates of tobacco use are usually seen among youth of color, individuals who identify as LBGTQ+, those with low socioeconomic status and those facing mental health struggles as they are more likely to use tobacco. Understanding these health disparities and how this impacts certain groups and individuals is important when considering how to support those who want to quit, or addressing this on a larger level.

Talking to the Young People in Your Life

Talking to the young people in your life about tobacco use can be difficult, but research shows that having these tough conversations can make a difference in their choices to use substances. Connecting with the young people in your life to discuss these topics, whether you’re a family member, teacher, coach, or anyone else with a meaningful relationship with a young person, can influence their decision to make a healthier choice. The following resources are for those who have young people in their lives and address talking to them about this difficult topic.

Helping Youth Quit

We are seeing a new generation of young people who are addicted to nicotine, and youth will need support and help to quit when they are ready. Supporting youth on their journey towards quitting is important, as well as setting them up with the necessary tools to be successful.

Resources to help young people quit

Tobacco Free Schools

Young people spend much of their time in school and on school grounds, so it is important for school administrators and staff to be knowledgeable about tobacco products, and the laws and regulation around them. The following toolkit was created by Boulder County Public Health and the Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership program as a resource for school staff. Information in this toolkit includes:

  • Information on tobacco products, including vaping devices
  • Health effects
  • Data on youth use
  • Tobacco-free schools law
  • Enforcement strategies
  • Safe disposal of vaping devices
  • Lesson plans for teachers
  • Quit resources

This toolkit was designed to be helpful for all school staff, including administrators, teachers, coaches, nurses, and counselors. See a web-based version of this toolkit on our Tobacco Free Schools page.

Contact Us


Tobacco Education & Prevention Program (TEPP)

Main: 303-413-7540
Submit a question


Location

Boulder
3482 Broadway
Map & Directions
Hours: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F