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Ten killer substances found in cigarettes

Updated on September 18, 2013

The many components of cigarettes such as benzene enter our circulation within 15-30 minutes after the first smoke. Of the approximate 4,000 chemicals present, 400 are toxic. But since each cigarette contains on average - 0.8 mg of nicotine, a substance that is addictive, it becomes very difficult to quit.

Here is a list of some toxic substances present in each cigarette.


This is a natural component of oil, but is produced by the incomplete combustion of carbon, also from volcanoes or forest fires, and is commonly used in pesticides and fuels. It is a known carcinogenic linked to a higher risk of leukemia, but also anemia, genetic damage, tissue damage and bone complications for pregnant women.50% exposure to benzene is due to cigarette smoking, active or passive.


This is also used to preserve the tissue during the process of embalming (but also for many household products, from construction materials to air fresheners).It is mainly responsible for irritation to the eyes, mucous membranes and the persistent cough that can affect a smoker.


This is the cocktail of chemicals produced by the burning of tobacco. It is the sticky brown residue that sticks to teeth, fingers and the lungs of smokers . Although many brands produce cigarettes that are "light" and low in tar content.


This is found in rat poison and it accumulates in the body of the smoker damaging the heart, blood vessels and interfering with the ability of our body to repair damage to DNA. In addition to being carcinogenic, it also damages the nervous system and digestive system.


The metal used to manufacture batteries enter our body through cigarette smoke, damage the kidneys and also the lining of the arteries. Normally we are able to expel it through the urine, but the dose through cigarettes can be more than we can dispose of.


Used for enamels and varnishes, it is amongst the main causes of lung cancer. It also serves as a "Trojan horse" allowing other carcinogens to adhere more easily to DNA causing damage.

Hydrogen Cyanide

It damages the heart and blood vessels, and also destroys the hairs that protect the airway allowing toxins to enter into the lungs. The body defends itself by forcing the smoker to cough.

Carbon Monoxide

This is a colorless and odorless gas which constitutes 3-5% of the combustion products of cigarettes. By binding to the iron ion hemoglobin instead of oxygen, it decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood depriving tissues of full functionality.

Nitrogen Oxides

This is also found in car exhaust and is one of the major air pollutants. Normally our body produces it in small quantities to facilitate the expansion of the respiratory tract but the excess of this substance in cigarettes causes the airways to expand excessively facilitating the absorption of nicotine and other poisons.


This is also used for cleaning toilets, it converts the nicotine into a gas, making it more easier to be absorbed by the lungs and blood, increasing its addictive effect.


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    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 4 years ago from Japan

      Yeah, the facts can be quite shocking. I see that here in Japan the percentage of smokers is still high.

    • profile image

      rin okumura 4 years ago

      it hepl me so much

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Ten killer substances found in cigarettes this I had no idea of these substance well I don't smoke. For smokers they should think twice about lighting a cigarette.

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 4 years ago from Japan

      Thank you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great article! Thanks for the information. My regret is that my relatives who need to read this, won't. I'll try to remember as best I can to relay to them.

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 4 years ago from Japan

      Thanks a lot.

    • jabelufiroz profile image

      Firoz 4 years ago from India

      Nice hub on killer substances found in cigarettes. Voted up.