Tobacco use affects all Nunavummiut and the land around us. Laws around tobacco use are designed to protect our community members, especially children and youth. Explore this section to learn more.
Types of Tobacco
Smoked Tobacco (Cigarettes, Cigars)
Smoked products are ones that burn tobacco. The smoke may be inhaled, or can also be held in the mouth. These products include:
- The number one consumed tobacco product in the world. Cigarettes are made with shredded tobacco. The tobacco is rolled into paper-wrapped cylinders.
- Cigarettes have more than 7,000 harmful chemicals. Hundreds of these are poisonous and close to 70 are known to cause cancer.
- These cigarettes are rolled by the smoker. He/she uses cigarette papers to hand-fill the tobacco that also contain hundreds of chemicals.
- Cigars contain dried and fermented tobacco. The tobacco is rolled tightly and ignited. The smoker draws the cigar smoke into his/her mouth and then blows it out.
Chew Tobacco / Snuff
Smokeless products include tobacco products taken in the mouth or nose without burning. They include:
- Chewing tobacco is placed in the mouth, cheek, or inner lip. It is then sucked or chewed. It is sometimes called "spit tobacco". This is because users spit out the tobacco juices and saliva.
- Snuff is powdered or crushed tobacco. It comes in dry or moist form. Dry snuffs are fine tobacco powder mixtures. They are usually inhaled and absorbed through the nose. Moist snuffs are taken in the mouth, between the cheek and the gum.
Chewing tobacco has more nicotine than cigarettes and is highly addictive.
A vape is a device that heats e-juice into an aerosol that the user inhales. E-juice is almost always flavoured and these flavours range from simple mint or fruit to more exotic Sour Patch Kids™ and brownies. Vapes come in many shapes and sizes: some look like pens or USB sticks, while others look like small flashlights.
Vapes are not tobacco products, but the e-juice often contains nicotine. The amount of nicotine varies widely, but popular brands like JUUL™ sell e-juice with more nicotine than a pack of 20 cigarettes. E-juice with THC (the chemical in cannabis that makes you high) is also available.
Although vapes have been promoted as a safe alternative way to quit smoking, there is growing concern that they can seriously harm your health. The high concentration of nicotine and small particles you breathe in while vaping are linked to heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and lung damage. Nicotine can also cause permanent damage to youths' developing brains, making it harder to focus and increasing the risk of developing psychiatric disorders.
While vaping is likely less harmful than smoking, it is not recommended as a way to quit smoking. Nunavummiut looking to quit smoking should use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), like the patch or gum, that are proven safe and effective.
Many tobacco users also use cannabis. Frequent and long term cannabis use can increase the risks of:
- Mental illnesses, particularly psychosis;
- Breathing problems if cannabis is smoked; and
- Difficulties with attention, thinking and problem solving.
Cannabis use before the age of 25 may negatively affect the brain.
Cannabis use while pregnant or breast feeding may be harmful to the baby.
The best way to prevent the risks of cannabis use is to avoid it. If you do decide to use cannabis, consider these suggestions about how to reduce your risk:
- Avoid smoking cannabis. Be sure to learn about the risks of using cannabis in other ways.
- Limit your use to once per week or less.
- Avoid using cannabis if you are pregnant, breast feeding or under the age of 25.
- Do not drive any vehicle (ATV, boat, snowmobile, car, truck) while high on cannabis.
- Avoid cannabis products that are high in THC. Purchase products that are low in THC and high in CBD.