it’s the law. 




As of October 1, 2019, minimum sales age for Marylanders is 21. Includes all smoking and tobacco products such as; vapes, e-cigarettes, JUUL, e-liquids, accessories and components. 





Smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body.

More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis. 

secondhand smoke 

Exposure to secondhand smoke, even for a short time, can be harmful to both children and adults.

  • Anyone who is exposed to it, even for a short time. Secondhand smoke can cause health problems in children and adults, and can even be deadly.1,2,6 Since 1964, about 2,500,000 people who do not smoke have died from health problems caused by secondhand smoke exposure.

How Secondhand Smoke Harms Adults

  • Even if you have never smoked, secondhand smoke can still cause:
    • Heart disease
    • Lung cancer
    • Stroke

Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can be harmful to your heart and blood vessels.

How Secondhand Smoke Harms Children1,3,8

  • Because their bodies are still growing, infants and young children are especially vulnerable to health risks from secondhand smoke.
  • Babies who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to die unexpectedly from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also called crib death, than babies who are not exposed to smoke from burning tobacco products.
  • Babies exposed to secondhand smoke in the womb or after birth are born and grow up with weaker lungs than babies that are not exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Babies and children who breathe secondhand smoke are sick more often with bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections than those that are not exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • For children with asthma, breathing secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack.

can’t hide smoke in the home 


  • Smoking in another room like a bathroom or bedroom can still spread secondhand smoke through the air in your home. In an apartment building, secondhand smoke can go in between apartments.
  • Smoking outside in a hall or stairwell does not protect children inside. Smoke goes under doors, windows, and through cracks.
  • Opening a window or using a fan does not protect children from secondhand smoke.
  • Air purifiers and air fresheners do not remove secondhand smoke.
  • Smoke from one cigarette can stay in a room for hours. Don’t smoke at home, even when children aren’t there.
  • Separating people who smoke from those who don’t smoke, cleaning the air and ventilating buildings does not fully protect children or adults from secondhand smoke.

smoking & covid-19

Patients with already compromised lung conditions may be at higher risk for more severe complications from COVID-19. Specifically, people who smoke or vape, or use opioids or methamphetamine may face heightened risk. While all people should be taking precautions to prevent exposure to COVID-19, this is particularly critical for higher risk groups, including people who smoke, vape, or use opioids or methamphetamine.

vaping & e-cigarettes


Electronic cigarettes are a large umbrella term used to cover a variety of nicotine products. There are many that look very similar to a cigarette as well as those that resemble pens or USB drives. Most of these products are battery powered coils that turn liquids into aerosol that is inhaled by the user. Typically those liquids are nicotine, glycerin, propylene glycol, as well as other solvents and additives.






More than 460 different e-cigarette brands are currently on the market. Some common nicknames for e-cigarettes are:

  • e-cigs
  • e-hookahs
  • hookah pens
  • vapes
  • vape pens
  • mods (customizable, more powerful vaporizers)


Vaping has become highly popular among the youth population. Most individuals do not realize that they contain high levels of nicotine due to the flavoring. E-cigarettes have also been advertised by companies as being a safer alternative to smoking “real” cigarettes and other various tobacco products when in fact they tend to be the introductory material used for cigarette smoking and usage of tobacco products. One study showed that individuals under the age of 18  who had used e-cigarettes by the time they started high school were more likely to start smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products within the next year when compared to others. An additional study supports these findings, showing that high school students who used e-cigarettes in the last month were about 7 times more likely to report that they smoked cigarettes when asked approximately 6 months later, as compared to students who said they didn’t use e-cigarettes.







Another concern on the usage of vaping and electronic cigarettes is that there is limited research revolving around the long-term effects on your health. A study of some e-cigarette products found the vapor contains known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, as well as potentially toxic metal nanoparticles from the device itself. The study showed that the e-liquids of certain cig-a-like brands contain high levels of nickel and chromium, which may come from the nichrome heating coils of the vaporizing device. Cig-a-likes may also contain low levels of cadmium, a toxic metal also found in cigarette smoke that can cause breathing problems and disease. There are also reports of lung illnesses and deaths related to inhalation of certain vaping oils into the lungs, which have no way to filter out toxic ingredients. Diacetyl is a commonly used chemical in vapes that has shown to cause a very serious lung disease called “popcorn lungs.” 



CDC: Tips From Former Smokers – Kristy G.’s Tip

smokeless tobacco

Just like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco contains cancer-causing chemicals. Smokeless tobacco products are called chew, dip, snuff, or plug. More chemicals are able to enter your body due to it sitting in your mouth for minutes at a time. The level of nicotine in smoke tobacco is 3 times as high as it is in cigarettes. Spit tobacco is absorbed through the bloodstream through your gums as it sits in your mouth.  Smokeless tobacco can cause: 

  • mouth sores
  • stinky breath
  • painful cavities
  • stained teeth
  • heart disease
  • damaged blood vessels
  • cancer of the throat, mouth, gums, cheeks and tongue

using any form of tobacco products will age your health and your skin. 

Important statistics

While cigarette smoking is down, it still is a problem across the United States. Go to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for a look at the statistics for adults and a separate link for youth



  • Illnesses caused by smoking cost the United States of America nearly $150 billion dollars worth in lost productivity due to the amount of times people take breaks to smoke and $170 billion in medical expenses. 
  • The Center for Disease Control in 2019 estimated 34.1 million of adults living in the United States were active cigarette smokers. 
  • More than 16 million Americans are currently living with a disease caused by smoking.
  • If smoking continues at the current rate in our = youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. This represents about onein every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger who are alive today.1
  • Studies have shown that on average smokers die 10 years prematurely compared to non-smokers. 
  • Percentage of U.S. adults aged 18 years or older who were current cigarette smokers in 2018 (from the :10
  • 13.7% of all adults (34.2 million people): 15.6% of men, 12.0% of women
    • About 19 of every 100 people with mixed-race heritage (non-Hispanic) (19.1%)
    • Nearly 23 of every 100 non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives (22.6%)
    • Nearly 15 of every 100 non-Hispanic Blacks (14.6%)
    • About 15 of every 100 non-Hispanic Whites (15.0%)
    • Nearly 10 of every 100 Hispanics (9.8%)
    • About 7 of every 100 non-Hispanic Asians (7.1%)

Note: Current cigarette smokers are defined as people who reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes during their lifetime and who, at the time they participated in a survey about this topic, reported smoking every day or some days.

  • On a daily basis, nearly 2,000 people under the age of 18 smoke a cigarette for the first time. Nearly 300 people under the age of 18 become daily cigarette smokers. 


Quitting smoking is hard. Nicotine, the addictive chemical in tobacco is as, if not more, addicting than cocaine or heroin! Free education, medication and support is available by calling 443-523-1700.

  • Individual sessions are available by appointment.  These sessions can be over the phone or virtual.  We currently provide nicotine replacement patches, Chantix, or nicotine gum. Participants must meet with our trained cessation coach to receive continued medication. A medication clearance form signed by a healthcare provider is required to receive the free medication and can be downloaded by following this link Link to Word document .  

1-800 quit logoThe Maryland Tobacco Quitline is a FREE service for Marylanders provided by the Department of Health. Get 24-7 counseling and support consisting of telephone sessions with a trained Quit Coach, nicotine replacement therapy (4 weeks free of patch or gum to eligible clients), web based services, recorded messages, texts, and/or literature. Coaches provide quitting tips and techniques, and help participants create a personalized quit plan. Special services are available to teens and to pregnant women. Services are also available in Spanish. Visit their site for more information – Maryland Tobacco Quitline

Call them at 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DEJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).

Cessation Program Client Information Form 


Want even more info on quitting tobacco? Visit these links:

Teen Quit Smoking Resources

Adolescent Health and Sexual Risk Avoidance Education

we are currently accepting proposals for an after school program:  The Somerset County Health Department is accepting proposals for an after school program that provides support and resources for youth dealing with mental health impacts of COVID-19. These funds are made possible through the Maryland Department of Health, Office of Population Health Improvement (OPHI) Substance…

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Narcan / Naloxone (Overdose Response Program)

Overdose Response Program The Overdose Response Program offers free training and certification in the use of naloxone, the life-saving medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. The program provides information on how to recognize an opioid overdose, administer naloxone, and care for the individual until emergency services arrive. Individuals who complete the training program will receive…

Go to Narcan / Naloxone (Overdose Response Program) →

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