Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Smoking & The Science Facts


       Cigarette smoke combines 4,000 chemicals, many of which are harmful to the human body. All tobacco products that are smoked deliver substantial amounts of toxic chemicals to their users and those who breathe their smoke.

Cigarette Smoke
      Cigarette smoke is a combination of:

  1. Mainstream smoke - the smoke inhaled by a smoker
  2. Sidestream smoke  - the smoke from the end of a lit cigarette
  3. Secondhand smoke - the smoke exhaled by a smoker plus sidestream smoke
Cancer Causing Chemicals

      Of the 4,000 or so chemicals present in cigarette smoke, more than 60 have been identified as cancer causing chemicals. 11 of these are known to cause cancer in humans and a further 8 probably also cause cancer in humans.

Some of the cancer causing chemicals in tobacco smoke include:
  • Benzene
  • 2-naphthylamine
  • 4-aminobiphenyl
  • Chromium
  • Cadmium
  • Vinyl chloride
  • Ethylene oxide
  • Arsenic
  • Beryllium
  • Nickel
  • Polonium-210.
Toxic Chemicals

      Toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke include:

  1. Nicotine - the addictive agent
  1. Formaldehyde - used in preservation of laboratory specimens
  1. Ammonia - used in toilet cleaners
  1. Hydrogen Cyanide - used in rat poison
  1. Acetone - used in nail polish remover
  1. Carbon monoxide - found in car exhaust
  1. Tar - particulate matter in cigarette smoke
  1. Toluene - found in paint thinners
  1. Phenol - used in fertilisers.


These chemicals have serious health impacts on the human body. For example:
  1. * Hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide and tar cause, or are associated with, cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive lung disease.

  2. * Ammonia and formaldehyde cause eys, nose and throat irritations and other breathing problems.
  The chemicals present in mainstream, sidestream and secondhand smoke are similar; however, the quantities of the various chemicals present differ.

Sidestream smoke is generated at lower temperatures and under different conditions than mainstream smoke and, consequently, contains higher concentrations of many of the toxins found in mainstream smoke.

With approximately one non-smoker dying due to secondhand passive smoke exposure for every eight smokers dying of smoking-related disease it is no surprise that secondhand smoke has been designated a known human carcinogen(cancer-causing agent).

Half of regular smokers will die of a smoking-related disease and have a reduced life expectancy of about 13 to 16 years as compared with nonsmokers.

Stopping smoking at age 60,50,40 or 30 can result in gains, respectively, of about three, six, nine or 10 years of life expectancy.

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