jogging in the city

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 contributes to heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, and increases the risk of pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear infections in children.

The Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership (TEPP) works to prevent tobacco-related deaths and disease in Boulder County. We work to support tobacco-free places for people to live, work, learn, and play, to prevent youth from using tobacco products and to help people quit.

Health Impacts of Tobacco/Nicotine

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion a year, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and $156 billion in lost productivity.

Colorado Quitline Can Help You Quit

man breaking a cigaretteCall the Colorado Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW to set up your personalized quitting plan. Five free sessions include:

  • Preparation
  • Support during your quit attempt
  • Discussion of drug therapies
  • Relapse prevention techniques. You must be 12 or older to call.

Translation services are available.

Callers may receive up to eight weeks of free patches, gum, or lozenges.

Provide Feedback about Colorado Quitline

If you use the Colorado Quitline, we want to hear about your experience so we can ensure that you are getting all the help you need. Give us your feedback.

Apps & Tools

Learn about free online tools and apps that can help you quit.

Lung Association’s Freedom from Smoking Clinics

Five Key Steps for Quitting

Studies have shown that these five steps will help you quit smoking and quit for good. You have the best chance of quitting if you use these five steps to develop and maintain your own quit plan.

Get Ready/Make a Plan

  • Set a quit date.
  • Change your environment. (Get rid of your tobacco and don’t let people smoke in your home or car.)
  • Review your past quit attempts. Think about what worked and what didn’t.
  • Make a list of reasons to quit.

Get Support

You will have a better chance of success if you have help. You can get help in many ways.

  • Tell family, friends, and coworkers that you are going to quit and that you want their support. Ask them not to smoke around you. Ask them if they want to quit with you.
  • Talk to your health care provider; they can help.
  • Get individual, group, or telephone counseling.

Learn New Skills and Behaviors

Change your routine to reduce your stress. For example:

  • Try to distract yourself from urges to use tobacco. Talk to someone, go for a walk, or find a new hobby.
  • When you try to quit, change your routine. Use a different route to work.
  • Drink tea instead of coffee. Eat breakfast in a different place.
  • Do something to reduce your stress. Take a hot bath/shower, exercise, read a book, call a friend, or go to a movie.
  • Plan something enjoyable to do every day. Reward yourself since you are doing a good thing for yourself and those around you.
  • Drink a lot of water and other fluids.

Get Medication and Use It Correctly

  • Medications can help you stop using tobacco. Ask your health care provider for advice first.
  • Approved medications can double your chances of quitting for good.

Be Prepared for Difficult Situations or Relapse

Don’t give up! Most relapses occur within the first three months after quitting. Don’t be discouraged if you start using tobacco again. Remember that most people try several times before they finally quit for good. Go back to your plan, adjust, and try again.

If you are having problems with any of these situations, talk to your health care provider.

Beautiful young woman is holding breath and enjoy sunlightSecondhand 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, including many that are toxic and about 70 that are known to cause cancer.

Report a Complaint or Concern about Secondhand Smoke

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).


Private homes, cigar bars, tobacco and vape retailers, limos under private hire, and marijuana tasting rooms are among the few exceptions to the law. Some retailers will be required to post age-restricted signage by October 1, 2019. Contact TEPP for more information, sign resources, and education.

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 code under the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, so check your workplace and organizational rules, too.

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:

  • 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.
  • Post no-smoking and no-vaping signs at all building or facility entrances.
  • Remove all ashtrays and other cigarette disposal containers from the main entryway to reduce confusion.
  • Download our free sign template, public factsheet, or request additional free resources from the Tobacco Education & Prevention Partnership.
  • When possible, try to avoid smoking or vaping near all entryways, operable windows, or in outdoor areas where the public gather to reduce drift.
  • If you’d like to kindly ask that someone not to smoke or vape near you, check out these conversation starters.

Report a Complaint or Concern about Secondhand Smoke

Health Risks

There is no safe-level of exposure to secondhand smoke; even small exposures can trigger a heart attack, an asthma attack, or a stroke.

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 occur in U.S. adult nonsmokers as a result of secondhand smoke exposure.

Secondhand smoke is a serious health risk to children. Health effects seen in children exposed to secondhand smoke include increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and ear infections; build-up of fluid in the middle ear; increased severity and frequency of asthma episodes; decreased lung function; and an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Learn More

Report a Complaint or Concern about Secondhand Smoke

Preventing Youth Use of Tobacco Products

These materials were designed to help educate the community about strategies that reduce youth access to tobacco products.

Youth Tobacco Use in Boulder County

mom and daughter talking on the couchYouth continue to use tobacco at increasing rates. More than one in five students in Boulder County high schools (22.2%) report current use of tobacco (tobacco use on at least 1 day in the prior 30 days).

Of the 14.1% of surveyed high school students who were current cigarette users, 51.6% had tried to quit smoking during the 12 months prior to the survey.

New Tobacco Products Appeal to Youth

New products are emerging every day. Youth today face an ever-expanding range of items including:

  • Little cigars, generally in packages of less than 20 and available in fruit and candy flavoring. These items often sell for less than $1.00.
  • Chewing tobacco, displayed in brightly colored shelving next to candy and other treats.
  • E-cigarettes, available in fruit and candy flavors, and often displayed next to convenience products such as chips and candy bars.

Parents Can Make a Difference

Despite the impact of movies, music, and TV, parents, still have the GREATEST INFLUENCE on their teens’ lives.

  • Talk directly to your child about the risks of tobacco use. If friends or relatives have died from tobacco-related illness, tell them about it.
  • Start the dialog about tobacco use at age 5 or 6 and continue through the high school years. Many kids start using tobacco by age 11, and many are addicted by age 14.
  • Know if your kids’ friends use tobacco. Talk about ways to refuse tobacco.
  • Discuss the glamorization of tobacco in the media.
  • If you use tobacco, try to quit. Meanwhile, don’t use tobacco in your children’s presence, don’t offer it to them, and don’t leave it where they can easily get it.
  • Let your friends and family know that you don’t want them to expose your children to secondhand smoke. Help your child practice asking adults to not smoke in cars, especially when kids are present.
    • For example, suggest that they say, “Thanks for giving me a ride home from soccer practice. My mom and I have talked about smoking, and it would be great if you could not smoke in the car with me.”

E-Cigarettes & Vaping

vaping devicesElectronic cigarettes (i.e. e-cigarettes, or e-cigs) look similar to cigarettes in shape and size but contain a battery-operated heating device that vaporizes a nicotine-containing solution, creating a aerosol that is then inhaled. The tips often have an indicator light, designed to emulate the burning ash of a traditional cigarette. They may be either disposable or refillable.

Using an e-cigarette is commonly referred to as “vaping.” Popular brands of e-cigarettes, sold at convenience stores and gas stations, include “blu,” “NJOY,” and “Juul.” Products come in kid-friendly flavors, such as chocolate, strawberry, mint, and piña colada.

Health Risks

The safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes has not been fully studied. Right now there is no way of knowing how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled by users and/or bystanders. These products are not considered to be safe or effective replacements for other tobacco products.

Recent studies have found that e-cigarettes can contain as much nicotine as a regular cigarette – or more. The liquid nicotine solution is very toxic and can potentially be spilled or accidentally swallowed.

  • Cartridges generally contain up to 20 mg of nicotine. The lethal dose of nicotine for children is approximately 10 mg.

Safety Risks

E-cigarettes, or “vapes,” can explode and cause serious injury. Although rare, these explosions are dangerous.

Laws & Regulations

It is illegal for youth under 18 to buy or possess them in Colorado; it is also illegal for adults to sell or give them to anyone under 18.

The 2008 Tobacco Free Schools Law prohibits the use of tobacco products on school grounds by students, staff, and visitors. Tobacco products are defined as, “any product that contains nicotine or tobacco or is derived from tobacco and is intended to be ingested, inhaled, or applied to the skin of an individual.”

Safe Disposal

In Boulder County, e-cigarette components, including batteries and e-liquids can be disposed of at the Boulder County Hazardous Materials Management Facility.

To learn more about e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, and other tobacco-related products and issues, please contact Boulder County Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership (TEPP) staff at 303-413-7524.

Secondhand Smoke Is Dangerous

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. It contains thousands of chemicals, over 70 of which cause cancer. Exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing or outdoors can be dangerous and unhealthy, especially for children and people with health concerns.

Take a Stand

You can help protect yourself and your loved ones from secondhand smoke by

  • Telling Smoke-Free Housing if you are being affected by secondhand smoke drifting into your unit.
  • Talking with smokers about the dangers that secondhand smoke poses to you or others. Be specific about how secondhand smoke affects you.
  • Contact us to learn more or get help by reporting a concern or question.

Have a Conversation

Asking someone who is smoking near you to change is not easy. Let smokers know that you’re not objecting to the fact that they smoke, but that you prefer they not smoke near you. Be firm but polite. How you say the message is as important as the message itself. Here are some scenarios to help you start the conversation.

take a stand icon

take a stand icon

take a stand illustration

Family or Loved Ones

If you have family or loved ones who smoke around you:

  • Acknowledge that quitting smoking is hard.
  • Tell them you’re concerned about secondhand smoke and how it hurts people’s health, including yours.
  • Keep the conversation polite and cool. You’ll get better results from a discussion than an argument.
  • Ask them not to smoke in the car or inside the home:
    • Even with a window open, smoke can get trapped inside a car or room.
    • Suggest “smoke stops” when traveling or a place outside the home away from doors or windows.
  • Help them to quit.
    • Offer to go for walks with them when they feel a craving coming on.
    • Ask them what you can do to be supportive.
    • Share the Colorado Quitline number (1-800-QUIT-NOW) with them.

Electronic Smoking Devices Do Not Emit Just Water Vapor

E-cigarettes have been shown to contain chemicals including nicotine, metals, and formaldehyde. Long-term health effects from exposure to vapor have not been fully studied. Refillable electronic smoking devices make it possible to refill cartridges with marijuana and other substances. It’s okay to ask someone not to vape near you or your loved ones. Let those who are vaping know that you do not object to the fact that they vape, but that you’d prefer they not vape near you.

Report a Complaint or Concern about Secondhand Smoke

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. Adopting a smoke-free policy is the only way to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing.

A Smoke-Free Policy Will

  • Save money: cleaning and repairing a unit where smoking occurred can cost 2 to 3 times more.
  • 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 many prefer smoke-free environments.
  • Ensure health: up to 65% of air can recirculate to other units in a multi-unit building. Even small exposures can cause health complications. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

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


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 exposure it 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

Contact Us

Tobacco Education & Prevention Program (TEPP)

Main: 303-413-7567
Submit a question


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