How Cigarettes Affect Your Body
What are Cigarettes Made out of?
There are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, cigarettes create more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many are toxic. Many of these chemicals also are found in consumer products, but these products have warning labels—such as rat poison packaging. While the public is warned about the danger of the poisons in these products, there is no such warning for the toxins in tobacco smoke. Here are a few of the chemicals in tobacco smoke and other places they are found:
• Acetone—found in nail polish remover
• Acetic acid—an ingredient in hair dye
• Ammonia—a common household cleaner
• Arsenic—used in rat poison
• Benzene—found in rubber cement and gasoline
• Butane—used in lighter fluid
• Cadmium—active component in battery acid
• Carbon monoxide—released in car exhaust fumes
• Formaldehyde—embalming fluid
• Hexamine—found in barbecue lighter fluid
• Lead—used in batteries
• Naphthalene—an ingredient in mothballs
• Methanol—a main component in rocket fuel
• Nicotine—used as an insecticide
• Tar—material for paving roads
• Toluene—used to manufacture paint
Smoking and the use of other tobacco products, including cigars and smokeless tobacco, causes or worsens numerous diseases and conditions. Combustible products also expose nearby people to toxic secondhand smoke. Find out more on the health effects of smoking, secondhand smoke, other tobacco products and marijuana.
• Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., causing over 480,000 deaths per year.
• Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard for people of all ages, causing more than 41,000 deaths each year.
• Marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.
• E-cigarettes are a new tobacco product, and the potential health consequences and safety of these products are unknown.
• Smokeless Tobacco products are addictive, known to cause of cancer and are not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
• Cigars have many of the same health risks as cigarettes, including causing certain cancers.
• Hookah smoke contains many of the same toxic components found in cigarette smoke.
Americal Lung Association
A Secondhand Exposure Cigarette and Tobacco Smoke
There are nearly 70 cancer causing-chemicals in the secondhand smoke from cigarettes. Even brief exposure to these toxic chemicals is dangerous. Secondhand smoke from cigarettes and other tobacco products that are the burned (e.g. cigars, cigarillos, hookah) are very harmful to be around. The U.S. Surgeon General continues to warn the public that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Secondhand cigarettes smoke is classified as a “toxic air contaminant”. Killing tens os thousands every year. It is especially dangerous for children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses. The health risks for children include:
• Low birth weight and lung problems in infants
• Acute lower respiratory tract infections (bronchitis and pneumonia)
• Middle-ear infections
• Chronic respiratory symptoms or problems
• Asthma in children who previously have not had any symptoms
• Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
How tobacco affects your body:
• Nicotine, the drug that makes tobacco addictive, goes to your brain very quickly.
• Nicotine makes you feel good when you are smoking, but it can make you anxious, nervous, moody, and depressed after you smoke.
• Using tobacco can cause headaches and dizziness.
• Tobacco stains your teeth and gives you bad breath.
• Tobacco ruins some of your taste buds, so you won't be able to taste your favorite foods as well.
• Tobacco causes bleeding gums (gum disease) and cancers of the mouth and throat.
• Smoking increases your heart rate and blood pressure and causes heart disease and heart attacks.
• If you try to do activities like exercise or play sports, your heart has to work harder to keep up.
• Smokers have trouble breathing because smoking damages the lungs.
• If you have asthma, you can have more frequent and more serious attacks.
• Smoking causes a lot of coughing with phlegm (mucous).
• Tobacco can cause emphysema (lung disease) and lung cancer.
• Smoking causes dry, yellow skin and wrinkles.
• The smell sticks to your skin.
• Less blood and oxygen flows to your muscles, which causes them to hurt more when you exercise or play sports.