The Toxins In Cigarettes
Copyright © Ron Harder 2001
I had occasion to visit a local hospital recently, and while waiting in the emergency ward I noticed a large poster on the wall with the headline "What The Tobacco Industry Is Hiding In Cigarettes". It contained a picture of a cigarette, and it had a large amount of text indicating the various compounds that this cigarette contained.
According to this poster, which was produced by the Department Of Health, there are many toxic compounds that the tobacco industry is hiding in cigarettes, and some of them will surprise you.
We have been told that cigarette smoke causes cancer, and that it kills. In this article I would like to make you aware of some of the chemicals found in cigarette smoke that make it so deadly. Here are eleven of the most toxic.
Acetone - A flammable, colorless liquid used as a solvent. It's one of the active ingredients in nail polish remover. The tobacco industry refuses to say how acetone gets into cigarettes.
Ammonia - A colorless, pungent gas. The tobacco industry says that it adds flavor, but scientists have discovered that ammonia helps you absorb more nicotine - keeping you hooked on smoking.
Arsenic - A silvery-white very poisonous chemical element. This deadly poison is used to make insecticides, and it is also used to kill gophers and rats.
Benzene - A flammable liquid obtained from coal tar and used as a solvent. This cancer-causing chemical is used to make everything from pesticides to detergent to gasoline.
Benzoapyrene - A yellow crystalline carcinogenic hydrocarbon found in coal tar and cigarette smoke. It's one of the most potent cancer-causing chemicals in the world.
Butane - A hydrocarbon used as a fuel. Highly flammable butane is one of the key ingredients in gasoline.
Cadmium - A metallic chemical element used in alloys. This toxic metal causes damage to the liver, kidneys, and the brain; and stays in your body for years.
Formaldehyde - A colorless pungent gas used in solution as a disinfectant and preservative. It causes cancer; damages your lungs, skin and digestive system. Embalmers use it to preserve dead bodies.
Lead - A heavy bluish-gray metallic chemical element. This toxic heavy metal causes lead poisoning, which stunts your growth, and damages your brain. It can easily kill you.
Propylene Glycol - A sweet hygroscopic viscous liquid used as antifreeze and as a solvent in brake fluid. The tobacco industry claims they add it to keep cheap "reconstituted tobacco" from drying out, but scientists say it aids in the delivery of nicotine (tobaccos active drug) to the brain.
Turpentine - A colorless volatile oil. Turpentine is very toxic and is commonly used as a paint thinner.
The toxic chemicals mentioned above are what you are putting into your body when you smoke, and when you draw this smoke into your lungs, your body has absolutely no chance to defend itself from these chemicals.
When you inhale, these toxins are drawn into your lungs, through the porous lining of your lungs, and directly into your blood stream. From your blood stream these chemicals are delivered to every cell of your body.
In order for the cells of your body to be healthy they have to receive a steady supply of nourishment, but if what they are receiving are toxic chemicals instead of nourishment, the tissues and organs of your body will be weakened to the point where they will become very susceptible to disease.
The most likely disease that you will then develop is cancer. This is because cigarette smoke contains some of the most carcinogenic (cancer causing) compounds known to man.
Even though cigarette smoke is not the underlying cause of lung and other forms of cancers, it certainly is a major contributing factor.
You may have thought that the cancer you develop as a result of smoking cigarettes will only be limited to your lungs, but that is not so, the cancer can develop anywhere in your body. This occurs because all the cells in your body are affected by the carcinogenic compounds that are delivered through your blood stream.
Cigarette smoke causes a great deal of harm to those who smoke, but it can cause even more harm to those who obtain this smoke second-hand. The person who smokes inhales his smoke through a filter that removes some of the toxic compounds, but the person who inhales the smoke coming directly from the cigarette does not have this advantage.
Children are especially vulnerable to second-hand smoke. Most of the time they do not have a choice as to whether or not they inhale these fumes, the adults around them make this decision for them. If you have children at home please keep the air that they breathe as pure as possible. Keep in mind the tremendous amount of harm that can be done by these toxic chemicals, and keep these chemicals away from your loved ones.
Your lungs may be the most affected by these toxins, but your heart is a very close second. Your heart has direct contact with all the blood in your body, and therefore, after your lungs, the cells of your heart will be the most susceptible.
Another very important item to consider is this, cigarette smoke is a major cause of free radical production in your body, and therefore can cause an endless number of diseases to develop, with heart disease being at the top of the list. Also, free radicals are proving to be responsible for causing your body to age.
Now you can see why cigarette smoke causes such an incredible amount of harm, and why the damage that it causes goes way beyond your lungs. Every cell of your body is affected by the toxins that are found in cigarette smoke.
For anyone who still smokes, I hope that this article has given you some added incentive to quit. The nicotine found in cigarettes is extremely addictive, and you may wish to consult your doctor or other health care professional to help you kick this deadly habit.
Glutathione is a powerful lung and liver antioxidant that the body needs to detoxify the toxins in cigarette smoke. The anti-cancer effect of glutathione is well documented in the medical literature, but their exact mechanism of action is not clear. Read our detailed report on Glutathione and in Cancer
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