Educational Materials

Health Effects

Smoking and Other Tobacco Use

Smoking and other forms of tobacco use can lead to health complications including cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

Other adverse effects include increased health care costs, increased likelihood of missing work, and decreased overall health status.


E-cigarettes aerosol that is inhaled through the electronic device may contain harmful substances including:

  • Nicotine
  • Ultrafine particles that are inhaled into the lung
  • Chemicals linked to lung disease and cancer
  • Nickel, tin, and lead

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is highly addictive and can lead to impaired brain development.

E-cigarettes are not approved by the FDA as a resource for quitting smoking.

The use of e-cigarettes or vaping products has been associated with lung injury and death.


Marijuana is known to affect brain development and may lead to impaired attention span, memory, and learning function, especially if consumed before the brain is fully developed (i.e. adolescence and young adulthood).

For more information on health effects for teens and young adults please visit the CDC Marijuana and Public Health page.

The short term effects of marijuana include difficulty problem-solving, impaired memory, and mood changes.

Regular consumption of marijuana is associated with adverse health effects:

  • Worse respiratory symptoms and more frequent bronchitis episodes
  • Increased risk of motor vehicle crashes
  • Development of schizophrenia or other psychosis (especially among frequent users)
  • The risk for addiction (especially among younger or frequent users)

Secondhand Effects

Roommates, family members, and even pets are at risk for the negative consequence of secondhand tobacco exposure. Tobacco exposure may lead to serious health effects including lung disease, cancer, and heart disease.

E-cigarette emissions may present a risk for secondhand exposure to ultrafine particles, nicotine, and other chemicals linked to serious health outcomes including lung disease

Why is it important to prevent exposure to e-cigarettes?

E-cigarette aerosol contains harmful chemicals found to be linked to cancer, birth defects, and other adverse health effects

Additional Resources

Tobacco Wisconsin

American Lung Association

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Truth Initiative

National Institute on Drug Abuse

American Cancer Society

Environmental Effect

The World Health Organization has documented the widespread effects of tobacco from an environmental perspective noting that the production and consumption of tobacco have resulted in increased consumer waste, deforestation, and climate change.

Tobacco consumption and improper disposal of tobacco waste have resulted in the contamination of air and water systems.

Cigarette and tobacco use also causes significant harm to our local environment. Further information is available from local efforts relating to the environmental effects of tobacco.