Keep Today’s Kids from Becoming Tomorrow’s Smokers

The best way to end teen smoking and tobacco addiction: Stop teens from ever starting

Young people don’t set out to become long-term smokers. When they start, most think they won’t be smoking a year later.1 Then they get hooked on nicotine – the nation’s most commonly used addictive substance.2 They bum cigarettes at a party or try vaping and don’t realize they’re moving down the road to addiction.

Two thirds of people who try a cigarette become daily smokers,3 and nine out of 10 adult smokers start by age 18.4 

The task of preventing use is even more pressing as vaping and e-cigarette use is rapidly increasing among youth and young adults across the country. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colorado high school students are vaping at twice the national average. That’s especially worrisome because teens who vape are four times more likely to smoke regular cigarettes a year later. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has officially declared youth vaping in the U.S. an “epidemic.”

Young smokers typically regret ever starting. Each year about half try to give up cigarettes.5 Yet the U.S. Surgeon General says: “Of every three young smokers, only one will quit, and one of those remaining smokers will die from tobacco-related causes.”6

We can help tobacco users, including youth, quit – and this website offers helpful resources – but it’s hard.

That’s why it’s so important to prevent kids from taking those first puffs.

Adults Play an Important Role

Adults may feel like teens know more about these new forms of tobacco than they do. But research shows that informed adults can have a big influence on kids, who may not fully grasp the risks. Adults also can dispel myths like the common misconception that vape clouds are “just water vapor.”

Learn what you can do:

It Can Be Challenging to Have a Conversation

Whether you’re a parent or adult who works with youth, hear from other Colorado adults about how to have conversations with youth about issues like vape. Plus, our tools will help you have a chat with the kids in your life.

Watch the video series

Learn About New Threats

Coloradans have already put these tools to work to make great progress in reducing cigarette smoking among youth.

But new threats are emerging, like vaping, which can addict users with nicotine and harm teens’ developing brains. Vaping also often leads teens to take up regular cigarette smoking.7

Learn more about vape


Together, we all have a part to play in making sure Colorado teens never become addicted to tobacco.


1. C. Wang, N. Henley, R. J. Donovan; Exploring children’s conceptions of smoking addiction, Health Education Research, Volume 19, Issue 6, 1 December 2004, Pages 626–634,
2. Nicotine Addiction and Tobacco, American Society of Addiction Medicine. Retrieved from
3. More than 60% who try a cigarette become daily smokers, study says,” CNN, 2018. Retrieved from
4.  Youth and Tobacco Use, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017. Retrieved from
5. Tobacco, Nicotine and E-Cigarettes, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018. Retrieved from
6. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012. Retrieved from
7. E-cigarette use as a predictor of cigarette smoking: results from a 1-year follow-up of a national sample of 12th grade students, Tobacco Use Journal, 2017. Retrieved from