Tobacco and Nicotine Use

The “101”

Here’s a quick lesson on tobacco and nicotine for you to be more informed. Tobacco is a plant. It contains nicotine, an ingredient that stimulates the body’s nervous system.

Products that contain tobacco include cigarettes, cigars, loose tobacco leaf for smoking through a pipe and ground tobacco leaf for chewing. E-cigarettes, vapes, or juuls are battery-operated devices that produce a nicotine vapor.

Tobacco and nicotine are harmful substances to the body. They cause cancer and lung diseases, increase the risk of heart disease, and contribute to premature death. Exposure to tobacco smoke is harmful to people even when they are not the one doing the smoking (this is called second hand smoke).

Nicotine is addictive. Addiction is a situation where the body must have the substance or stimulation to avoid physical and psychological symptoms that come when the body tries to withdraw from the substance or stimulus. Addiction to tobacco and nicotine is treatable.

Many state and local laws make it illegal for minor-age youth (typically under age 18) to use tobacco.

A healthy decision would be to avoid taking up tobacco and nicotine use, or to quit using it if you do already.

Reflect On It

Write in your journal (download journal) any thoughts you have as you think about this topic, using the questions below:

Learn More

Tobacco, Nicotine, and E-Cigarette Facts Get the run-down on tobacco, nicotine, and e-cigarettes.

Take Action!

Quit or Reduce Your Tobacco or Nicotine Use

Nicotine is an addictive substance, so “kicking the habit” takes focus and time. Lots of people have quit their use of tobacco or nicotine products. And so can you!

A great place to start if you are considering quitting or reducing your use of tobacco or nicotine (which includes vaping, juuling, or e-cigarettes), or are for sure ready to give it a go, is This website will take you to a hotline with counselors, apps you can download to your smart phone or computer, and lots of tips to encourage you to stick with your own personalized quit program. There’s also a hotline you can call—1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Also, you can set an appointment with your healthcare provider, or ask the adult responsible for your health care to set an appointment. Many healthcare providers and organizations have tobacco cessation programs and services available.

Challenge Your Peers to Quit Tobacco and Nicotine Use

Wanting to take on a tobacco cessation activity to help your peers or family members quit or reduce tobacco? Or people in your neighborhood or workplace who expose you to second hand smoke? Take action following the recommendations of Or organize a group of your peers to put on a tobacco awareness activity where you live, learn, or work on Kick Butts Day! Check out their suggestions for how to organize an activity.

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