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What's in a Cigarette? Know the Harmful Chemicals In Cigarettes

Updated on March 3, 2014
Smoking Kills
Smoking Kills

Is every substance in a cigarette harmful?

Yeah, without any exception.There is no substance in the cigarette that is not harmful to our health. More than 5000 substances have been identified in tobacco smoke. Among them are carcinogenic gases and particles, pesticides used in the cultivation of tobacco leaf which are not destroyed in the drying process. First of all you must understand that there is no safe level of tobacco consumption. Unlike alcohol, there is no moderate level for tobacco.

The most popular villain

When you talk about smoking and its harmful effects, just think of the nicotine. Although it is far from being the best villain in smoke, it is the main cause of addiction. Nicotine can travel the entire body in just 10 seconds.After absorbed by the lungs, it goes into our bloodstream and trigger a brain impact, releasing substances that provide an immense sense of pleasure.This rapid brain impact can be only compared to cocaine.

The addiction begins precisely when nicotine binds to receptors in our nervous system, triggering the release of various substances, such as dopamine which give the feeling of pleasure. However, when the nicotine level in the blood falls, it happens two hours after the first cigarette more or less, the person misses that positive reinforcement and has a crisis of abstinence. Related to abstinence, or negative reinforcement symptoms such as irritation, nervousness, upset stomach, insomnia and increased appetite are shown.

The nicotine-related illnesses are: increased heart rate, myocardial infarction, stroke, angina, high bad cholesterol (LDL), early menopause, gastritis, gastric ulcer, emphysema, bronchitis, progressive obstruction of the arteries that can lead to amputation, besides the acute symptoms such as nasal irritation, throat and eyes, dizziness and headache.

The Dangers of Tar

Tar is the name given to the group of substances present in tobacco and are absorbed by the smoker as he lights a cigarette. It is directly related to cancer of lung, bladder, airways and bronchi. About 43 carcinogens are found among its compounds, including

Benzene: it is present in the composition of detergents and petrol , besides being used as a pesticide. When inhaled, it is absorbed by the lungs, where it causes irreversible damage. The inhalation of benzene-related diseases are emphysema, asthma (even in children and adults who are victims of secondhand Smoke) And liver cancer. Exposure to benzene for more than 20 years may even cause leukemia.

Nickel: material used in the production of stainless steel, coins and alkaline batteries. When inhaled, nickel is deposited in the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, bones and teeth. It causes changes in the stomach and increases the chances of respiratory infections and cancer.

Toxic Metals

In cigarette we can find a number of heavy metals, which are extremely toxic and are deposited in the liver and kidneys. The body takes 10-30 years to eliminate these chemicals. People over 20 years of addiction may not be able to reverse all complications. Among the heavy metals present in cigarettes, the main ones are:

Arsenic: It is used as a pesticide during tobacco cultivation and is not lost during the manufacture of cigarettes. Once it gets inside the body, causes lesions in the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, bones and teeth.

Lead acetate: Common in hair dyes, lead acetate affects mainly the lungs and kidneys.Large amount of lead acetate can impair the ventilation of the lungs, causing shortness of breath, emphysema and lung cancer.

What's in a cigarette?

Gases that kill

The main components of cigarette smoke and the risks related to them are:

Carbon monoxide: Very common pollutant in the atmosphere is the main component of tobacco smoke.Carbon monoxide competes with oxygen in binding to hemoglobin, which means it takes the place of oxygen in connection with our blood cells, impairing the transport of oxygen throughout our body, thus causing difficulty in breathing. By joining with our red blood cells, it also makes the blood thicker. Our body has to produce more red blood cells to supply the quantity compromised by carbon monoxide.

Even people who do not smoke, but they already have a cardiovascular problem, can suffer from breathing difficulties, asthma and even heart attack while inhaling cigarette smoke. If you have too much carbon monoxide in your body, you may feel dizziness.

Ketones: . Better known as nail polish remover in the form of acetone, ketones are a drug and flammable. Inhalation of ketones in small amounts irritates the throat and cause dizziness and headaches. However, if inhaled in large quantities can cause severe poisoning and it may even cause death.

Turpentine: It is a toxic substance obtained by extraction from pine resins. Commonly used as diluent and remover for paints. When inhaled causes eye irritation, dizziness, fainting and injuries to the nervous system, depending on quantity.

Okay then, What about menthol cigarettes?

"Menthol cigarettes are usually the door to the addiction for many young people."

The menthol cigarettes are those which tastes like mint and clove. Very popular among teens to have a sweeter taste than regular cigarettes. A person has more difficulty to kick the habit if he smokes menthol cigarettes. And this happens precisely because of its refreshing taste that masks the bitterness of nicotine and tar.

Electronic Cigarettes! Good or Bad?


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