Live smoke free

What is smoking?

Smoking is the practice of burning tobacco and inhaling the smoke that is produced. All forms of tobacco smoking are harmful and there is no level of exposure to tobacco that is considered safe. Cigarette smoking is the most common form of commercial tobacco used worldwide. Other commercial tobacco products include waterpipe tobacco, cigars, cigarillos, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco.

What is traditional tobacco smoking?

Traditional tobacco is unprocessed, natural tobacco gathered and used by some Indigenous peoples as a part of their cultures. Traditional tobacco is considered a sacred plant with immense healing and spiritual benefits in some Indigenous cultures, where it is used for rituals, ceremonies, and prayers. When commercial tobacco is used instead of traditional tobacco, it can be harmful. 

How does smoking cause cancer?

Commercial tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, at least 250 of which are known to be harmful and over 70 can cause cancer. The chemicals in cigarette smoke that are inhaled can spread quickly through the bloodstream and reach cells throughout the body. These chemicals can cause abnormal cell growth which can then become cancer.  This happens to the person who is smoking the cigarette, as well as to those around them who inhale the smoke (second-hand smoke).

As an example, we could prevent around 3,600 cancer cases in 2038 if all Manitobans live smoke-free by not smoking or not being exposed to second-hand smoke, starting today.

Are e-cigarettes or vaping a safe alternative to smoking tobacco?

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or vapes, are devices that use liquid “juice” nicotine with or without flavours, to produce a vapour rather than smoke.

E-cigarettes have not been approved as a smoking-cessation method and the risks and benefits of their use are not fully known because of a lack of independent long-term studies. There is evidence that the liquid in e-cigarettes includes potentially hazardous chemicals.

What can you do?

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There is no safe level of tobacco smoke exposure. Keep environments as smoke-free as possible at home, work, in cars, and building entrances. 

  1. Avoid second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke is when you inhale the smoke of someone else who is smoking. Second-hand smoking has risks for people of all ages:

  • Unborn children: increases the risk of stillbirth, premature birth, low birth weight, slowed growth, and increased risk after birth of leukemia, lymphomas and brain tumours.
  • Infants and children: increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infection, breathlessness and coughing.
  • Adults: increases the risk of heart problems, lung cancer, emphysema, breathing problems like asthma, excessive coughing, and nasal and chest infections.
  1. Avoid third-hand smoke.

Third-hand smoke passes from surfaces in areas where a person has smoked to people who share the same area. For example, if a person smokes in a car, residue from the smoke remains on the car’s interior fabrics, windows, and doors. When a person gets into the car and touches the surfaces, chemicals from the residue are passed through the skin. Chemicals from cigarettes smoke can also remain in rugs, curtains, clothes, food, furniture, skin, hair and other materials long after the person who smoked in the area has left.