Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What is in a cigarette?

You’ve heard of nicotine but, when it comes to health, that’s the least of your worries. Each cigarette contains around 4,000 chemicals, many of which are known to be toxic.

Here are a few of the nasties you’ll be inhaling in every drag:
  • Acetone - widely used as a solvent, for example in nail polish remover
  • Ammonia - found in cleaning fluids
  • Arsenic - a deadly poison, used in insecticides
  • Benzene - used as a solvent in fuel and chemical production
  • Cadmium - a highly poisonous metal used in batteries
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) - an odourless, tasteless and poisonous gas; makes breathing more difficult as it combines with the blood that carries oxygen around the body. Up to 15 per cent of a smoker's blood may be carrying CO instead of oxygen, making the heart work harder, and potentially leading to coronary heart disease and circulation problems.
  • Cyanide - a deadly poison
  • Formaldehyde - used to preserve dead bodies
  • Shellac - becomes a wood varnish when mixed with a form of alcohol
  • Tar - a mixture of chemicals (including formaldehyde, arsenic and cyanide). About 70 per cent of the tar is left in smokers' lungs, causing a range of serious lung conditions.

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