Do Manufacturers Add Chemicals To Cigarettes To Make Them More Addictive?
Smoking has been proven to cause serious and often fatal diseases including several types of cancer as well as respiratory disease and Coronary Heart Disease, the number one medical killer in the United States. It can also cause serious health issues for women that can affect pregnancy, fertility and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. If all that wasn't bad enough, second hand smoke can make people who have never touched a cigarette very ill, especially children.
And still, as many as fifty three million Americans smoke them.
The main addictive property of tobacco is nicotine, which is an alkaloid formed in plants and is also sometimes used as an organic pesticide. The type of nicotine found in tobacco is closely related to the nightshade family - of which many species are toxic. It's the nicotine that gives smokers the rush that keeps them addicted. Nicotine is also responsible for raising smokers' heart rates, enhancing their alertness and giving them a sense of euphoria.
Some studies indicate that some of the big tobacco companies raised the levels of nicotine in their cigarettes by as much as ten percent between 1998 and 2004.The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that adding nicotine to cocaine made it more addictive. It has also been estimated that cigarette smoking may be one of the most difficult addictions to quit. It's as hard to kick cigarettes as it is to quit heroin, and quitting cigarettes can bring some pretty serious withdrawal symptoms, including intense cravings, depression and anxiety.
599 Chemicals, 4000 Possible Compounds In Cigarette Smoke
In 1994, the five major American tobacco companies submitted a list of chemical additives that are put into their cigarettes and other tobacco products. Although all of these chemicals are approved for use in food by the Food and Drug Administration, no studies have ever been done to determine the effects of these chemicals when they are ignited.
But there weren't just a few chemicals, there were-five hundred and ninety-nine of them. Because of the large number of additives, there are over four thousand chemical compounds that can be created by lighting a cigarette. Tobacco companies are not required to list their ingredients on cigarette packaging, and they do not have to disclose what chemicals are used or in what quantities they are used. While some of the chemicals were fairly innocent, like chamomile, dandelion root and thyme, some are pretty frightening. We're talking ammonia, ethyl alcohol and arsenic. They are presumably added to tobacco to make cigarettes more tasty and addictive.
Here is a short list of some of the worst ingredients than can be found in your cigarettes.
- Ammonia is a household cleaner. It is put into cigarette because it changes the properties of nicotine, and makes cigarettes more addictive. It is generally approved by the FDA to keep bacteria out of packaged meats.
- Naphthalene, more commonly referred to as Naphtha, is one of the main ingredients in moth balls, carpet cleaning solutions as well as napalm. You read that right. Napalm.
- Benzene is also used for making rubber.
- Acetanisole is used as a flavoring in food. It is made from the glandular secretion of the beaver.
- Malitol is a chemical sweetener for diabetics.
- Propyl acetate is a chemical solvent used because it smells like pears.
- Sodium chloride is simple table salt added to cigarettes because of its preservative qualities.
- Acrolein, nickel, cadmium (the same stuff in batteries), pyridine and catechol all cause respiratory illnesses when smoked. Cadmium can also cause kidney disease.
Some of the chemical compounds created by smoking a cigarette are even worse.
Formaldehyde is a chemical compound that is formed by the combustion process of cigarette smoking. It is used primarily for preserving dead animals and tissue specimens as well as building materials. Its presence in cigarette smoke is three times the recommended limit for occupational jobs. It is responsible for the irritation that most smokers experience in their nose, throat and eyes.
Carbon monoxide found in cigarette smoke can cause many symptoms, including dizziness, headaches, nausea, chest pains and, in extreme cases, death.
Cigarette smoke contains tar, which sticks to the lining of the lungs. Tar is what makes a smoker's lungs turn black, and is the cause of 95% of the lung cancer associated with smoking.
In 2009, the tobacco industry started putting sodium silicate into the cigarette papers, to make them go out faster. These cigarettes are called Fire Safety Cigarettes, or FSCs. The silicates in FSCs immediately started making people sick with headaches and low grade fevers. Silica comes from sand and, at high levels, can cause a pulmonary disease called silicosis, one of the oldest occupational diseases in the world.
Do you believe cigarette manufacturers add chemicals to make their cigarettes more addictive?
How To Avoid Chemicals In Cigarettes
Obviously, the best way to avoid all of the added chemicals in cigarettes is to stop smoking right now - this very minute. The benefits of quitting are immediate.
There are a lot of 'quit smoking' products on the market, many of them can and do work, but a lot don't. Before beginning any plan to stop smoking, talk to your doctor. Talk with your friends and family who have quit smoking and see what helped them. Find internet support groups, some areas even have Alcoholics Anonymous type groups that support each other's efforts to quit. Keep in mind that what works for one person will not necessarily work for another; you just have to find the right path for you.
If you are unable or unwilling to quit, try herbal cigarettes, or making your own cigarettes with organic tobacco. These may be difficult to find in some areas, but most towns and cities do have tobacconists that can order specific products on request. Some tobacco dealers have online stores, but check the legality of buying cigarettes or tobacco for your state or locality.
Video About the Additives (and Other Things) in Cigarettes
Official Information on How To Quit Smoking
- CDC - Tips From Former Smokers - Smoking & Tobacco Use
The Tips from Former Smokers campaign features real people suffering as a result of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
Smokefree.gov can help you or someone you care about quit smoking. The information and professional assistance available on this Web site can help to support your needs as you quit smoking. Created by the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the Nation