Tobacco industry products

The tobacco industry markets a ton of products each year to try and get you hooked.


An example of what one cigarette looks like

Cigarettes are the first tobacco products marketed by the tobacco industry.

  • Cigarettes are the most common tobacco product in the world with more than 5 billion produced worldwide each year.
  • Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, over 70 cause cancer.
  • They are highly addictive and contain about 1.8mg of nicotine, a drug that is very addictive, linking to a number of diseases such as several types of cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and negative reproductive outcomes.


E-cigarette Device to smokeless smoking

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vapes are battery-powered devices that vaporize the liquid contents (called e-liquid) of a cartridge that is then inhaled by the user. Propylene glycol (PG) is one of the main ingredients found in e-liquids, and is a known irritant when inhaled.

The contents inside e-cigarettes, also known as e-liquids, can contain a wide variety of flavours.

E-cigarette devices and e-liquid/cartridges are not regulated for consumer safety. e.g. there are no regulations to prevent manufactures from using diacetyl, a flavouring agent known to cause irreversible lung damage.

An e-cigarette can contain as much nicotine as a regular cigarette due to the fact that there is no current regulation in place.

If you are a daily cigarette user, switching to vaping products may reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. 



Group of eastern hookahs

What is hookah smoking?

The hookah, also known as a water-pipe or shisha, is a device used to smoke tobacco product and herbal product that is specially made with molasses and flavouring.

Why should I be concerned?

Hookah smoking carries many health risks and is gaining popularity among young adults due to the variety of flavoured product and the misperception that it is a "healthier" alternative to cigarette smoking. Harmful chemicals are not filtered through the water so they are absorbed into your body.

Who's using the hookah?

Ottawa data collected in 2014 shows that approximately 14% of people over the age of 18 in Ottawa have used a hookah at some point in their life, with nearly 50% of those aged 18 to 24 reporting that they have tried a hookah.

Since 2006, hookah use among the Ontario population aged 18 and up has tripled from 3% to 10% in 2002.

Why is hookah smoking dangerous to my health?

  • It can be addictive. The tobacco used in a hookah contains nicotine, the same highly addictive drug found in cigarettes.
  • Chemicals are absorbed into your body. The smoke from a hookah pipe contains chemicals and toxins including carbon monoxide, carcinogens, heavy metals, and tar. The water in a hookah pipe does not act as a filter.
  • There are health risks. Hookah smoking is associated with a number of poor health outcomes including lung cancer, respiratory illness, low birth weight, carbon monoxide poisoning, adverse cardiac events, and periodontal disease. 
  • You can catch an infectious disease. There is a risk of contracting viruses and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, herpes, influenza, and oral disease from sharing the hose or mouthpiece of a hookah pipe. The use of a disposable tip does not prevent the transmission of contagious diseases.
  • It produces secondhand smoke. A recent study conducted by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit showed that the air quality in hookah bars tested in Toronto was unhealthy and potentially hazardous.


Little cigar with filter isolated on white background

A cigarillo is a mini-cigar wrapped in a tobacco leaf instead of paper. It has previously been marketed through many flavours such as cotton candy, cherry, and strawberry to target youth specifically.

  • Flavoured cigarettes, little cigars, and blunt wraps that contain flavours are prohibited in Canada and Ontario. However, Big Tobacco has recently exploited the regulations by increasing the weight of their cigarillos so they can still be sold.


An example of what chew tobacco looks like

A smokeless tobacco product marketed to youth with candy flavouring such as cherry, peach, and apple. This product is just as addictive as cigarettes because it contains a higher level of nicotine than some other tobacco products. Just because it's smokeless, doesn't mean it's harmless.

  • Contains 3,000 chemicals, 28 of those chemicals cause cancer
  • Causes many harmful health effects including: oral diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and pancreatic cancer 


Two Cuban cigars closeup

Cigars are often smoked at celebratory events or socially among friends. It is tobacco rolled in tobacco leaves. Cigars are much larger than cigarillos and cigarettes. Due to the fact that it contains nicotine, this product is highly addictive.

  • Contrary to popular belief, this products smoked contains the same harmful chemicals as cigarettes, and can be just as addictive.
  • There is no safe tobacco product and no safe level of exposure to the secondhand smoke.
  • This product contains a higher level of cancer-causing chemicals, more tar, and a higher level of toxins than a regular cigarette.


Swedish snus

This tobacco product is fine, ground up tobacco in a tea bag. This product is a Big Tobacco product marketed as a "safer alternative" to cigarettes, but with cancer causing chemicals and a high level of nicotine, it is not a safer alternative.

  • Disposes discreetly
  • Contains 3,000 chemicals, 28 of those chemicals cause cancer 
  • Addictive like cigarettes 
  • The tobacco industry made this product to appeal as an alternative to the tobacco user who wants a stress free experience, given there are more and more places becoming smoke-free.


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