Keep Today’s Kids from Becoming Tomorrow’s Smokers

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

Though it’s illegal to sell tobacco to teens, nine out of 10 cigarette smokers start by age 18.1

Young people don’t set out to become long-term smokers. When they start, most think they won’t be smoking a year later.2 Then they get hooked on nicotine – the nation’s most common form of addiction.3 They go from bumming cigarettes at a party to buying their first pack to taking their first smoke break – sometimes without even noticing how they’re moving down the road to addiction.


In fact, two thirds of people who try a cigarette become daily smokers.4


They 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 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:

Talk to Kids

You can learn here about effective strategies that adults can use to talk with youth about vaping.

Resources to start a conversation

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.  Youth and Tobacco Use, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017. Retrieved from
2. 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,
3. Nicotine Addiction and Tobacco, American Society of Addiction Medicine. Retrieved from
4. More than 60% who try a cigarette become daily smokers, study says,” CNN, 2018. 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