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Tobacco/Vaping Programs

The Douglas County Health Department, as a part of the Illinois Tobacco-Free Communities Program, has several programs that focus on the major areas of the anti-tobacco campaign: prevention, cessation, environmental tobacco smoke, and working with at-risk communities. This is accomplished through a variety of programming.

Individuals who wish to quit smoking may contact the American Lung Association’s Quitline for cessation counseling and Nicotine Replacement products.

First-hand Smoke – What is first-hand smoke?

First-hand smoke is what you might think it would be: smoke that affects the smoker. This is the “smoke” (including the carcinogens, nicotine, and additives) that the smoker inhales and infiltrates his or her body.

Second-hand Smoke – What is second-hand smoke and why is it important?

Second-hand smoke, recently termed “environmental tobacco smoke,” is the “smoke” exposure that smokers and non-smokers receive from the burning and consumption of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar. The second-hand “smoke” consists not only of the nuisance portion from the smoke itself, but also contains carcinogens (cancer causing agents), nicotine (drug), and carbon monoxide (poison). While the former is what most people complain about- for instance, the smell that lingers on their clothes after leaving a bar, it is the latter that is dangerous, even deadly.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that second-hand smoke causes 3,000 lung cancer DEATHS among non-smokers each years.

  • A recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that a non-smoker’s risk of heart disease increases by 25% with exposure to second-hand smoke.

  • Non-smokers subjected to second-hand smoke are exposed to: nicotine, carbon monoxide and carcinogens (cancer causing agents.)

  • Non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke exclusively at work have been found to have significantly higher level of nicotine metabolite in their blood than those with no work-place exposure.

Third-hand Smoke – What is third-hand smoke and is it harmful?

You know what secondhand smoke is but what is thirdhand smoke? Thirdhand smoke is the residue from cigarettes, e-cigarette and vaping devices, and other tobacco products that collects on nearby surfaces. These dangerous chemicals cling to walls, carpets, car interiors and even clothing and hair, leaving behind a dangerous residue that can actually become more toxic over time. Exposure to this residue can damage DNA and increases the risk for short-term and long-term health problems, including asthma5 and cancer.

What makes thirdhand smoke so dangerous, though, is its persistence. Common cleaning methods such as vacuuming, wiping surfaces and airing out rooms aren’t effective in removing the residue. Even if the smell goes away, the particles linger behind and still pose a danger. Everyone is at risk of exposure to thirdhand smoke in homes, cars, and public spaces after smoking or vaping has occurred, but infants and toddlers are especially vulnerable.


The chemicals can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled, and children teething or playing with contaminated objects will be exposed. Although thirdhand smoke has drastically decreased in public places where smoking and vaping is banned, like workplaces and restaurants, we aren’t free from risk. Protect yourself and your family from the dangers of thirdhand smoke. Do not allow smoking or vaping we live, work, and play completely tobacco-free.


Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a smoke-free home. Before renting an apartment or home, ask the landlord if the previous tenants ever smoked or vaped inside. Homebuyers should also ask if any prior residents ever smoked in the home before purchasing to avoid thirdhand smoke residue. To learn more about how you can protect your family, home, or your investments download the free resource guide.

Smoke Free Illinois

In Illinois, all indoor workplaces and public places, including bars/taverns, restaurants, private clubs, and casinos, are smoke-free. Smoking is prohibited within 15 feet of all entrances and exits, windows that open and ventilation intakes.

What is in a Cigarette?

While most of us would answer the Jeopardy question with: What is paper, tobacco, filter and, maybe, glue, the truth is far more complicated. 

In 2017, our ITFC grant program lead became a trained “Engaging Youth In Positive Change” facilitator and was inspired to expand the current good work under the grant work plan to include the EYPC program curriculum with youth in and around Douglas County, IL. The youth participants began the EYPC “Engaging Youth In Positive Change” program model in July of 2017, FY18. The program model was created and developed by, Scott P. Hays, Ph.D. and additional developers with the Center of Prevention, Research and Development at the University of Illinois, School of Social Work. EYPC youth participants, REALITY students, first collectively determine the change they were inspired to pursue to make their community healthier. 


Throughout the program, they learn about the workings of local governing bodies, engage with community members and facilitate relationships with elected officials. Participants gain valuable insight and real-world experience within the EYPC Program model. It guides them through the process of how policies impact community health. EYPC is targeted toward youth ages 13-18 and with the leadership of a trained DCHD facilitator, students work on real social and community change projects such as smoke-free public spaces, healthier school foods, greenways and parks, safer public events, and others. Our Douglas County youth participants pursue policy changes in tandem with the health initiatives of the Illinois Tobacco-Free Communities grant through the State of Illinois. 


Through the EYPC program model, participants are presented with the immeasurable opportunity to expand their knowledge base through analytical and critical thinking. They are presented with challenges to research, communicate, delegate, and most importantly – work collectively as a team toward a common goal! To improve the health of the communities throughout Douglas County, Illinois the program lead facilitates REALITY students through these program models developed to inspire youth to participate in creating a healthier community: “Engaging Youth In Positive Change”; “Taking Down Tobacco” #kickbutts; #BeTheFirst! Big Tobacco is working to overtime to rebuild their customer base with newly addicted youth.


They need one new youth addicted to nicotine to replace each of the 480,000 that died in 2019 from smoking and tobacco-related illnesses. Our youth are vulnerable to Big Tobacco and the likes, manipulative marketing. As a department, we are deeply dedicated to improving the health of all who live in and around our community through education and prevention programs.

We invite you to follow our prevention activities via our social media pages and links to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be found on our homepage of our website.

#ITFC  #BeTheFirst  #KickNic #EscapeTheVape  #UIUCSW #CPRDUIUC  #TobaccoFreeKids   #DCHD #REALITY  #EYPC #EngagingYouthForPositiveChange


In 2018 and 2019, we established 5 student REALITY groups that collaborated both in person and online working collectively with the EYPC model to increase public education and awareness about the dangers of nicotine addiction and  Electronic Cigarettes.


Our collaborations and efforts were notable and with hundreds of hours invested by students at 5 area high schools we were successful in establishing peer support cessation groups and peer support resources at all area high schools and at the beginning of 2020 and we worked closely with the Douglas County State’s Attorney and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and through this collective effort we successfully introduced two ordinances which both passed in February 2020.

To review the motions passed, please see the following:

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