How did we get to this point?

Information sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Tobacco use has been part of American culture since the colonial era. By the mid-twentieth century, Americans began recognizing the potential harms caused by using tobacco. Over time, the risk to those exposed to secondhand smoke became more prominent too. In response, the U.S. adult smoking rate has dropped significantly in the last 55 years. From 1964 to 2017, the U.S. adult smoking rate dropped from 42% to 14%. With increased awareness of the harms of secondhand smoke, community members began looking for a reprieve. To spur culture norm changes and protect the public’s health, public health institutions and governments partnered with community members and organizations to create smoke free policies. These policies aimed to protect workers and those enjoying public places by banning the use of combustible tobacco (cigarettes, pipes, hookahs, etc.) indoors.

In Lincoln, the first indoor smoking ordinance was passed in 2004. The state of Nebraska followed with the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act in 2008. Since then, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department has worked to support the adoption of comprehensive voluntary smoke-free policies by businesses, schools, multi-unit housing complexes, and outdoor recreational areas. Today, the perception is that we can live, work, and play in safe environments with clean air. Exposure to secondhand smoke is considered unacceptable to most – both indoors and out. When a problem arises, there is less hesitation to speak out and seek help. To support healthy environments, the Health Department provides education and resources to those affected by secondhand smoke. Protect your health and the health of those around you, continue speaking out about the need to clear the air.

Kick off the school year with a smoke-free ride to school for your student

With school starting up again, Tobacco Free Lancaster County Coalition encourages parents to make sure their children ride in smoke-free vehicles. Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to get sick and have trouble learning in school.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children who are exposed to secondhand smoke have increased risks of bronchitis and other respiratory infections, middle ear infections and more severe asthma. Smoke can also slow lung growth, with permanent consequences. It can make it more difficult to concentrate, too.

Smoke settles into seats, door panels and ceiling liners of vehicles. It re-enters the air for a long time afterward. Then it is called third-hand smoke. Breathing third-hand smoke is also dangerous.

Children are growing rapidly, their lungs and brains are developing and they breathe more air for their body sizes than adults do. All of those things put children at a greater risk for the health problems linked to smoke.

The only good answer is to keep the vehicle smoke-free. Rolling down a window does not eliminate the problem, because much of the smoke stays in the vehicle anyway.

Help your children have a good year at school by keeping your vehicles and their world smoke-free.

Story credit: Community Connections Tobacco Free Lincoln County


Local youth assess tobacco marketing in 77 retail locations

In May 2017, teams of youth from Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army and the Malone Center will be visiting 77 different retail locations throughout Lincoln to observe and document tobacco advertising on the inside and the outside of retail locations. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) the tobacco industry spends 60 million dollars a year in Nebraska alone on advertising.  Youth will be using an assessment tool created by Counter Tools, a national effort supported by the CDC to engage communities in place-based health equity.  Funding for this project was provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services/Tobacco-Free Nebraska as a result of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

23.8% of Lincoln-Lancaster youth have used electronic cigarettes in the last 30 days

According to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 23.8% of youth in Lincoln-Lancaster County reported using E.N.D.S. in the past 30 days and 39.1% of youth reported they have “ever used” electronic cigarettes (Centers for Disease Control, 2015). This translates to approximately 3,200 Lincoln/Lancaster County youth using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days.

E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults

The 2016 Surgeon General’s report comprehensively reviews the public health issue of e-cigarettes and their impact on U.S. youth and young adults. Studies highlighted in the report cover young adolescents (11-14 years of age); adolescents (15-17 years of age); and/or young adults (18-25 years of age). Scientific evidence contained in this report supports the following facts found here: E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults.

Nebraska E-Cigarette Law Summary

In 2014 Nebraska made changes to the tobacco and vapor product (e-cigarettes) sales and use statutes.  Read more about e-cigarettes.

StarTran Bus Ads

Watch for 3 tobacco prevention messages rolling down Lincoln streets!

Tobacco-Free Campus Policy Summit for Colleges and Businesses

October 20, 2016, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, Training Center (lower level), 3140 N Street, Lincoln, NE.  Lunch is provided. Space is limited. Please RSVP by October 6th to Deb, 402-441-6225, or Renee, 402-441-4685,

  • Learn how to implement a tobacco-free campus policy and enhance compliance.
  • Hear from a panel of representatives from colleges, universities, and businesses about their experiences with a tobacco-free campus policy.
  • Receive resources and samples of tobacco-free campus policies.



Surgeon General Tobacco Report

50anniv-logoThe 50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health will be released on January 16.


Smoking and tobacco use information …read more

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leader in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its devastating consequences in the United States and around the world.

World No Tobacco Day

May 31, 2010
(World Health Organization)

Theme: Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women

World No Tobacco Day 2010 is designed to draw attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls. For more information:

Tobacco Marketing to Women and Girls

Deadly in Pink

Women and Tobacco Fact Sheet

Camel No. 9 Marketing