Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tobacco: The Kiss of Death

Arsenic is the poison used to kill rats. Did you know cigarettes and chew have that, too? Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is launching its ‘Kiss of Death’ multi-media campaign to educate youth and young adults about the harmful chemicals found in tobacco products and tobacco smoke.

According to the Surgeon General, nearly 9 out of 10 people who smoke, start by age 18, and 99% start before the age of 26. A recent study published in January 2015 found that teens believe that “light smoking” poses little or no risk. Through the ‘Kiss of Death’ campaign, JCPH hopes to shed light on the fact that even one cigarette or dip is too many.

“Misperceptions about the harms of tobacco still exist, and youth and young adults are continuing to become addicted. By raising awareness that tobacco products contain deadly chemicals like arsenic and formaldehyde, we hope teens and young adults will be discouraged from ever starting,” explained Zach Dunlop, Youth Engagement Specialist from Jefferson County Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Initiative.

During the month of February, the ‘Kiss of Death’ campaign will be advertised digitally on Pandora and Facebook, and print versions may be viewed on beverage coasters at local bars and restaurants. Campaign messages will also reach youth and young adults at several area high schools and Red Rocks Community College. High school students will play off of the campaign’s edgy ‘kiss’ graphic during the week of Valentine’s Day by hosting events aimed to educate fellow students about the harms of tobacco use. These events will give youth the opportunity to interact with the campaign by writing “break-up” letters to the fictional character “Nic O. Tine” and spreading the word through social media using #KissofDeath.

Learn more about the toll of tobacco and how to get involved in local tobacco prevention efforts at

If you or someone you know needs help with breaking up with “the Kiss of Death”, consider some of the following FREE resources:
  • For telephone support, coaching and resources to help you or a loved one become tobacco-free; call the Colorado QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). The QuitLine also offers web-based support at This free service provides information and tools to develop your own personal plan for quitting.
  • The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment offers, an online web hub that connects visitors to a variety of resources and topics including cessation services and information on preventing secondhand smoke exposure and youth tobacco use.
  • COQuitMobile is a free text-based program that places you on the path to a life free from tobacco.
Attend a free tobacco cessation group hosted by Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge on Tuesdays at 12:00 p.m. This is a six week drop-in group that provides adults who want to quit smoking with tools and support to achieve their goals. (You do not need to attend all six weeks in order to participate.)

You may also visit the Thinking of Quitting page on the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Website for a list of additional resources and videos that will encourage and help you to quit.

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