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Monday, January 22th, 2018 | 10 a.m. | Windsor and Essex County

Whether it comes from tobacco, cannabis (marijuana), or hookah, smoke is smoke and you need to limit your exposure to it. That’s the Windsor Essex County Health Unit’s (WECHU) main message as it joins health organizations across the province and the country in kicking off National Non-Smoking Week, which runs through Saturday, January 27, 2018.
Established in 1977 by the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control, National Non-Smoking Week is a coast-to-coast effort to inform and educate Canadians about the dangers of tobacco use, to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke, and to support those who use tobacco, to quit.
“While most people know there is absolutely no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, unfortunately there’s less awareness about health risks associated with exposure to cannabis smoke and the smoke or vapour from other products like e-cigarettes,” says Eric Nadalin, Manager of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention at WECHU. “Many of the same fine particles, cancer-causing compounds, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and heavy metals that are found in tobacco smoke are also found in marijuana and other forms of smoke”. 
Analysis of tobacco and cannabis smoke has shown that they have thirty-three known cancer-causing chemicals in common; these substances are also found on California’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects.
The smoke from a hookah pipe can also cause serious health risks, similar to those posed by tobacco and cannabis smoke. Hookahs are water pipes that are used to smoke flavoured specialty-made tobacco and herbal shisha. The charcoal used to heat the product produces very high levels of carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and cancer-causing chemicals. The particles in e-cigarette vapour, including flavouring compounds, are also hazardous because they reach deep into lung tissue when used as intended. Some studies have shown e-cigarette vapour can also include heavy metals and other cancer-causing compounds such as formaldehyde, as well as the addictive compound nicotine.
The Health Unit recommends that everyone avoid exposure to all forms of smoke. This is especially important for children, pregnant women, older adults and those with pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma, lung and heart diseases.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit also offers smoking cessation support with counseling from a Public Health Nurse and free nicotine replacement therapy. They can also help you find the best support available in Windsor-Essex County to meet your needs. For more information or help to quit smoking, visit

Media Contact
Communications Department
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
519-258-2146 ext. 6397 (news)

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