Jefferson County, Colo. – Warmer weather is approaching, and more people will be 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 tobacco smoke and aerosol from e-cigarettes, often called “vapor”.
With this in mind, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) announced today it is partnering with every jurisdiction across the county to launch a new public education campaign, “Let’s Clear the Air We Share.” The campaign will inform Jefferson County residents and visitors about existing laws related to outdoor smoking and vaping, educate about the harms of secondhand smoke and vapor and encourage everyone to work together to keep the air we share clean and healthy for all.
“We’ve long known that secondhand smoke is harmful, and we continue to learn more about the long-term health risks associated with exposure to secondhand aerosol from electronic cigarettes,” said Dr. Dawn Comstock, Executive Director, JCPH. “While we continue to battle COVID-19, it is more important than ever for everyone to do their part in clearing the air we share by abstaining from smoking and vaping in public spaces.”
The campaign will include shareable messages and content for use by local organizations and businesses including social media posts and printable signage for businesses. Educational resources about secondhand smoke and vapor, local ordinances and resources that support quitting tobacco will be shared with the community at www.jeffco.us/cleartheair and in Spanish at www.jeffco.us/limpiarelaire. Campaign messages will also be shared across the county on buses, bus shelters, streaming audio and with digital advertising on websites and social media.
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. Secondhand vapor emitted by e-cigarettes is not harmless either, and the CDC states that secondhand vapor “may expose bystanders to harmful constituents such as nicotine, heavy metals, ultrafine particulates, volatile organic compounds and other toxicants.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who currently smoke or previously smoked have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health reported that emerging evidence suggests that secondhand vapor emitted from e-cigarettes is harmful to the cells of the lungs and can diminish the ability to respond to infection.
JCPH and its community partners are encouraging everyone to visit www.jeffco.us/cleartheair to learn more about ways to clear the air:
About Jefferson County Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Initiative Jefferson County Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Initiative is working with students, parents and community members to educate about the harms of tobacco in our communities and to promote tobacco-free living. For more information or to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Donna Viverette at 303-275-7555.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth