According to the Centers for Prevention and Disease Control, over 5,000 chemical compounds have been found to be present in cigarette smoke and over a hundred of them are quite harmful to human health. That explains why smoking is harmful to you.
Below are some examples of chemicals in cigarettes:
- Carbon monoxide is the gas you inhale when smoking. Once this gas gets into your lungs, it is transported to your blood stream. This gas reduces the amount of oxygen your red blood cells carry. It also increase the quantity of cholesterol deposited into the inner lining of your arteries which can lead to the hardening of the arteries over time. This can result in artery diseases, heart diseases and heart attack.
- Nicotine is a very dangerous and addictive chemical. It causes increased blood pressure, increases the rate at which blood flows to the heart, increases heart beats, and narrows the walls of the arteries (the blood-carrying vessels). It can also facilitate the hardening of the walls of the arteries, which can in turn cause heart attack. This chemical, depending on the frequency of your smoking, can stay as long as six or eight hours in your body. Additionally, its withdrawal comes with a number of side effects like most other addictive substances.
- Tar is not a single chemical, instead, it describes different chemicals contained in the tobacco smoke. It leaves sticky, brown deposits on your teeth, fingernails and most importantly, your lungs.
- 1,3-Butadiene is a chemical compound used in rubber production. It is known to be carcinogenic-a causative agent of certain types of blood cancers.
- Arsenic can be found in cigarettes and is used for wood preservation. Some compounds of arsenic have been identified as causes of skin, lung, bladder and liver cancers.
- Benzene in cigarettes is used for the manufacture of several other types of chemicals. It can be a cause of certain types of cancer, especially leukemia in human beings.
- Cadmium found in cigarettes is a metal used in the manufacture of batteries. Both cadmium and its compounds are capable of causing lung cancer and have been linked with both prostrate and kidney cancers.
- Chromium VI is used in the manufacture of metallic alloys, dyes and paints. Chromium VI compounds can be a cause of lung cancer and have been linked to nasal sinuses and nose cancer.
- Formaldehyde is used in the production of resins and chemicals. It can also serve as a preservative. Formaldehyde is known to cause leukemia and respiratory tissue cancers.
- Polonium-210 is a very radioactive element that can cause cancer in animals.