Let's Clear the Air We Share
With warmer weather, more people are enjoying outdoor public spaces as a safer option for gathering during COVID-19. Because COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can damage the lungs, it is more critical than ever to prevent exposure to anything that could compromise lung health, including secondhand smoke from cigarettes and aerosol from e-cigarettes (often referred to as “vapor” or “vape”).
“Let’s Clear the Air We Share” is an educational campaign that was created in partnership with communities across Jefferson County to inform residents and visitors about existing laws related to outdoor smoking and vaping, educate about the harms of secondhand smoke and vapor and inspire everyone to work together to keep the air we share clean and healthy for all.
What you need to know:
Is secondhand smoke actually harmful when I’m smoking outside?
Even outside, exposure to secondhand smoke could be bad for the health of people who do not smoke. Secondhand smoke contains a toxic mix of more than 7,000 chemicals and chemical compounds, 70 of which are known to cause cancer in humans [external link]. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke for adults, children or pets.
Is secondhand vapor harmful?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [external link] states that secondhand aerosol, sometimes referred to as “vapor” or “vape,” emitted by electronic cigarettes “may expose bystanders to harmful constituents such as nicotine, heavy metals, ultrafine particulates, volatile organic compounds and other toxicants.”
What about marijuana smoke? Is that harmful?
Yes, marijuana smoke is also known to contain many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke [external link] and should be treated the same. Please remember that the use of any form of marijuana is not allowed in public spaces in Jefferson County.
Where am I not allowed to smoke/vape in public?
The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which was updated in 2019 [external link], outlines where smoking and vaping are prohibited in public places. Additionally, each community, and Unincorporated Jefferson County, has its own laws that may be stronger (or sometimes weaker) than the state law. Visit the links below to become familiar with your community’s specific laws:
- Edgewater [external link]
- Golden [external link]
- Lakewood [external link]
- Unincorporated Jefferson County
- Westminster (aligns with state law) [external link]
- Wheat Ridge [external link]
Learn more about the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act
- Infographic about the updated Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act [external link]
- Fact sheet about the updated Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act [external link]
What should I do if I see someone smoking/vaping in a non-smoking/vaping area?
Move away from the person smoking or vaping. You may also want to contact your local municipality about compliance concerns.
Community partners can help spread the word!
You’ll find social media posts, newsletter content, printable flyers/signs and table tents on the Communications Toolkit page.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [external link], people who currently smoke or have previously smoked have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
The National Institutes of Health [external link] reported that emerging evidence suggests that secondhand vapor from e-cigarettes is harmful to the cells of the lungs and can diminish the ability to respond to infection.
Sign the Pledge!
Now more than ever, it’s important to prevent exposure to anything that could hurt the lungs, including secondhand smoke from cigarettes and vapor from electronic cigarettes. We can all do our part to #ClearTheAirWeShare by refraining from smoking or vaping in public spaces! Take the pledge [external link] that you’ll share the air responsibly.
Are you, or someone you know, thinking about quitting smoking or vaping but don’t know where to start?
Quitting smoking or vaping can be hard, but there are a lot of free resources available to support you, or someone you know, with the process. Visit www.tobaccofreeco.org [external link]..