Secondhand Smoke

For almost 25 years we have known that secondhand tobacco smoke is a Group A Carcinogen known to cause cancer in humans. More recent research has shown that exposure to secondhand smoke can cause immediate health risks, including asthma and heart attacks.   There is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure.  

Vape devices emit an aerosol that often contains harmful chemicals, including nicotine; ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavorings that break down into chemicals linked to serious lung diseases; volatile organic compounds such as benzene; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead. Scientists are still researching how secondhand vape affects those who use electronic devices and  those who are exposed to the aerosol.  

Smoke-free and vape-free policies protect health and set community norms for clean air. More information is available here.

In 2019, the Colorado Legislature updated the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act (passed in 2006) to expand protections from secondhand smoke and vapor.

As of July 1, 2019:

  • Vaping is not allowed in indoor public places, including all bars and restaurants.
  • People have to be at least 25 feet from main entrances while smoking or vaping.
  • All hotel and motel rooms are smoke and vape-free.
  • All businesses are smoke and vape-free.
  • Common areas of assisted living facilities are smoke and vape-free.

Thirdhand Smoke

Thirdhand smoke or vape is the nicotine pollution that persists in the air and on surfaces after smoking  or vaping has stopped. These gases and particles are sticky and become embedded in materials and objects, like carpet, walls, furniture, blankets, and toys.  Research on thirdhand smoke or vape is still evolving, however, exposure can create health hazards, especially for children.