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"Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. As of 2017, about 34 million US adults smoke cigarettes. Every day, about 2,000 young people under age 18 smoke their first cigarette, and more than 300 become daily cigarette smokers. Over 16 million people live with at least one disease caused by smoking, and 58 million nonsmoking Americans are exposed to secondhand smoke" (CDC, 2019)
Tobacco Use Disorder is a brain disease characterized by persistent tobacco-seeking and/or using behaviors, effecting a person's physical, social, emotional, and/or occupational aspects of a person's life (Shariatirad et al., 2013; Volkow et al., 2011).
Prevention programs strengthen protective factors by addressing those most at risk with accurate information about drugs, articulate the potential consequences of misuse/abuse, and offer activities unrelated to using drugs. To find the right program for your community, check out SAMHSA's Resource Center.
The basic components of most cigarettes are tobacco, a filter, and paper wrapping.
Cigars are cured tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or a substance containing tobacco. Cigars vary in size, but large cigars can deliver as much as 10x the nicotine, 2x more tar, and more than 5x the carbon monoxide than a filtered cigarette.
Electronic Cigarettes (AKA Vape Pen, Juul)
Electronic cigarettes often resemble traditional cigarettes but they use a heat source, usually powered by a battery, to turn “e-liquid,” a liquid that usually contains nicotine from tobacco and flavorings, into an aerosol that is inhaled by the user.
Smokeless Tobacco Products
There are two main types of smokeless tobacco that have been traditionally marketed in the United States: chewing tobacco and moist snuff. Chewing tobacco is cured tobacco in the form of loose leaf, plug, or twist. Snuff is finely cut or powdered, cured tobacco that can be dry, moist, or packaged in sachets.
Waterpipes (also known as hookah, shisha, narghile, or argileh) are used to smoke specially made tobacco that comes in a variety of flavors like mint, cherry and licorice. Research shows that waterpipe smokers may absorb even more of the harmful components found in cigarette smoke because smoking sessions are longer.
Electronic Nicotine Delivery
E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products—flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air.
They are sometimes called "Juul," “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” and “tank systems.”
E-cigarette aerosol generally contains fewer toxic chemicals than regular cigarettes. However, e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless. It can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing agents.
E-cigarettes are NOT SAFE for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
E-cigarettes may have the potential to benefit adult smokers who are not pregnant if used as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products. E-cigarettes are not currently approved by the FDA as a quit smoking aid.
While e-cigarettes may have the potential to benefit some people and harm others, more research is needed on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a quitting tool and long term health effects.