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The tobacco industry has blood on their hands – even from people who don’t use tobacco

The tobacco industry’s products have one terrible thing in common: They cause disease, disability, and death.15 A toddler gasps for air during an asthma attack from cigarette smoke.1617 A teen is hospitalized for chest pain and shortness of breath from vaping.18 Another feels anxious and depressed from nicotine addiction.19 A family buries their loved one who died of lung cancer.

The tobacco industry kills 110 Californians each day, and 30 more suffer from a tobacco-related disease.2021 Why do we think this is normal?

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Secondhand Dangers

Cigarette smoke and vape from e-cigs contain chemicals that cause cancer and reproductive harm. Exposure to secondhand smoke can happen at work, at home, or even outdoors – which puts everyone at risk for lung cancer and other serious health problems.

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Tobacco industry’s damage

The tobacco industry currently spends billions each year on slick marketing tactics1 and political influence2 so they can profit off death and disease.
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Even for people who don’t use tobacco, there can be deadly consequences.3
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The industry calls kids their “replacement customers.”4 Big Tobacco sentences them to a lifetime of addiction and disease.
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This racist and unjust industry has strategically targeted certain communities with deadly products and manipulative messaging. 5
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No one’s safe from the environmental damage6 and health risks7891011 from toxic tobacco waste and its plastic pollution.12
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lady in a garden wearing a head scarf

Hold the industry accountable

California has already protected people from other harmful products,1314 and it’s time to hold the tobacco industry to the same standards.
  1. Federal Trade Commission. Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2020. Washington, D.C.: Federal Trade Commission. 2021.
  2. OpenSecrets. Industry Profile: Tobacco. Opensecrets.org. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/industries/summary?cycle=2021&id=A02. Accessed March 16, 2022.
  3. Office on Smoking and Health (US). The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); 2006.
  4. RJ Reynolds. Younger Adult Smokers: Strategies and Opportunities. https://www.industrydocuments.ucsf.edu/docs/rkvk0045. 1984 February 29.
  5. Anderson SJ. Marketing of menthol cigarettes and consumer perceptions: a review of tobacco industry documents. Tob Control. 2011;20 Suppl 2(Suppl_2):ii20-ii28. doi:10.1136/tc.2010.041939.
  6. Break Free From Plastic. Branded Vol. III: Demanding corporate accountability for plastic pollution. 2020.
  7. Poma A, Vecchiotti G, Colafarina S, et al. In Vitro Genotoxicity of Polystyrene Nanoparticles on the Human Fibroblast Hs27 Cell Line. Nanomaterials (Basel). 2019;9(9):1299. Published 2019 Sep 11. doi:10.3390/nano9091299.
  8. Zarus GM, Muianga C, Hunter CM, Pappas RS. A review of data for quantifying human exposures to micro and nanoplastics and potential health risks. Sci Total Environ. 2021;756:144010. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144010.
  9. Jacob H, Besson M, Swarzenski PW, Lecchini D, Metian M. Effects of Virgin Micro- and Nanoplastics on Fish: Trends, Meta-Analysis, and Perspectives. Environ Sci Technol. 2020;54(8):4733-4745. doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b05995.
  10. Ziv-Gal A, Flaws JA. Evidence for bisphenol A-induced female infertility: a review (2007-2016). Fertil Steril. 2016;106(4):827-856. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.06.027.
  11. Campanale C, Massarelli C, Savino I, Locaputo V, Uricchio VF. A Detailed Review Study on Potential Effects of Microplastics and Additives of Concern on Human Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(4):1212. Published 2020 Feb 13. doi:10.3390/ijerph17041212.
  12. Belzagui F, Buscio V, Gutiérrez-Bouzán C, Vilaseca M. Cigarette butts as a microfiber source with a microplastic level of concern. Science of The Total Environment. 2021;762:144165. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144165.
  13. Governor Newsom Signs Legislation Making California First in the Nation to Ban Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics [press release]. gov.ca.gov. https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/09/30/governor-newsom-signs-legislation-making-california-first-in-the-nation-to-ban-toxic-chemicals-in-cosmetics/. Published September 30, 2020. Accessed March 23, 2022.
  14. Landmark California law bans 'forever chemicals' in products for infants, children [press release]. ewg.org. https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news-release/2021/10/landmark-california-law-bans-forever-chemicals-products-infants. Published October 5, 2021. Accessed March 23, 2022.
  15. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fast Facts. cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm. Accessed March 23, 2022.
  16. California Environmental Protection Agency. Proposed Identification of Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant. Sacramento, CA: California Environmental Protection Agency, Air Resources Board, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. 2005.
  17. Wang Z, May SM, Charoenlap S, et al. Effects of secondhand smoke exposure on asthma morbidity and health care utilization in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2015;115(5):396-401.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2015.08.005
  18. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products. cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html. Updated February 25, 2020. Accessed March 24, 2022.
  19. Office of the Surgeon General. E-cigarette Use among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General [PDF–8.47 MB]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2016.
  20. California Environmental Protection Agency. Proposed Identification of Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant. Sacramento, CA: California Environmental Protection Agency, Air Resources Board, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. 2005.
  21. Jackler RK, Ramamurthi D. Nicotine arms race: JUUL and the high-nicotine product market. Tob Control. February 2019:tobaccocontrol-2018-054796. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2018-054796.
  22. Truth Initiative. How Big Tobacco made cigarettes more addictive. truthintiative.org. https://truthinitiative.org/research-resources/harmful-effects-tobacco/how-big-tobacco-made-cigarettes-more-addictive. Published January 23, 2018. Accessed March 24, 2022.