What Chemicals are Present in Tobacco Cigarettes?

What Chemicals are Present in Tobacco Cigarettes?

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Studies on the ill-effects of smoking have been conducted since the early 1950s. In 1986, the IARC (International Agency for Research in Cancer) published that smoking tobacco cigarettes can cause cancer of the lungs, bladder, larynx, pharynx, renal pelvis, pancreas and esophagus. Over the years, more evidence linking tobacco smoke to stomach cancer, liver cancer and myeloid leukemia has been established.

Chemical-laced tobacco smoke

Cigarette smoke contains a lethal cocktail of 4,000 chemicals, 43 of which are known carcinogenic compounds and another 400 are toxins. The deadly brew of chemicals affects the tissues and organs of smokers, non-smokers, fetuses, and cancer apart, cause heart diseases, emphysema and growth retardation in fetuses during pregnancy. In fact more patients suffering from smoking-related illnesses have succumbed in a few days in comparison to the victims of cocaine abuse in an entire year.

A breakdown of the carcinogens and chemicals in tobacco smoke

Take a look at some of the deadliest poisons that enter your system when you smoke tobacco cigarettes. Also note that quite a few of these are present in some synthetic products used in households and industries.

Tar: A brown, sticky residue, tar is a well-known carcinogenic. Cigarette filters don’t do enough to remove the tar, and don’t make cigarettes any less dangerous. This substance is responsible for staining your fingers and teeth. According to the Utah Department of Health, if you smoke one pack of cigarettes a day for an entire year, your lungs would have accumulated one quart (946 mm) of tar.

Arsenic: Another carcinogenic agent and poison, arsenic interferes with the body’s ability to repair DNA. If arsenic accumulates in the body as a result of smoking over time, blood vessels, organs and the heart get damaged.

Benzene: An industrial solvent, benzene is known to cause leukemia. Inhaling benzene through second-hand smoke has been seen to increase the risk of cancer in non-smokers.

Chromium: Used to make paints, alloys and dyes, chromium can cause blood cancer. Tobacco smoke contains a toxic form of chromium known as hexavalent chromium.

Cadmium: An abnormal amount of cadmium in the body can damage the lining of arties, kidneys and cause cancer. Tobacco smoke is laced with this substance, which is primarily used to make batteries.

Nitrosamines: These carcinogens are regulated strictly by federal agencies. There are stringent requirements that bacon, nipples on baby bottles and beer cannot contain more than 10 parts per billion of nitrosamines. Both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products (that are chewed) contain nitrosamines in much larger quantities. They stop the body cells from repairing damaged DNA and are closely linked to the onset of cancer.

The poisons present in cigarette smoke include hydrogen cyanide (an industrial pesticide), carbon monoxide (found in car exhausts), and ammonia (used to make explosives, fertilizers, and found in toilet cleaners).

Electronic Cigarettes use a handfull of ingredients that have been used for decades in a range of household products.

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