What are the harmful substances in cigarettes?

Pls. enumerate the common ones.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Cigarettes are one of few products which can be sold legally which can harm and even kill you over time if used as intended.

    Currently there are ongoing lawsuits in the USA which aim to hold tobacco companies responsible for the effects of smoking on the health of long term smokers.

    Benzene (petrol additive)

    A colourless cyclic hydrocarbon obtained from coal and petroleum, used as a solvent in fuel and in chemical manufacture - and contained in cigarette smoke. It is a known carcinogen and is associated with leukaemia.

    Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)

    A colourless liquid, highly poisonous, used to preserve dead bodies - also found in cigarette smoke. Known to cause cancer, respiratory, skin and gastrointestinal problems.

    Ammonia (toilet cleaner)

    Used as a flavouring, frees nicotine from tobacco turning it into a gas, found in dry cleaning fluids.

    Acetone (nail polish remover)

    Fragrant volatile liquid ketone, used as a solvent, for example, nail polish remover - found in cigarette smoke.


    Particulate matter drawn into lungs when you inhale on a lighted cigarette. Once inhaled, smoke condenses and about 70 per cent of the tar in the smoke is deposited in the smoker's lungs.

    Nicotine (insecticide/addictive drug)

    One of the most addictive substances known to man, a powerful and fast-acting medical and non-medical poison. This is the chemical which causes addiction.

    Carbon Monoxide (CO) (car exhaust fumes)

    An odourless, tasteless and poisonous gas, rapidly fatal in large amounts - it's the same gas that comes out of car exhausts and is the main gas in cigarette smoke, formed when the cigarette is lit. Others you may recognize are :

    Arsenic (rat poison), Hydrogen Cyanide (gas chamber poison)

    source: Health Education Authority (UK) - Lifesaver

    Source(s): source: Health Education Authority (UK) - Lifesaver http://www.quit-smoking-stop.com/harmful-chemicals...
  • 1 decade ago

    Ammonia, Arsenic, Asbestos, Carbon monoxide, DDT, Hydrogen cyanide, Lead, Methanol, Naphthalene, Nicotine

  • Bob
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    There are about 400 different carcinogens in cigarette tobacco. They are mostly organic compounds formed by the burning of the tobacco or evaporated from it because of the heat produced. Nicotine is considered an irritant and mild carcinogen.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well, in my project alert class we had a font 12 list of every thing that is harmful. it was over 20 feet long.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Tar, and a form of something close to rat poison, but not sure what it's called.

  • 1 decade ago

    The whole thing is the harmful sunstance... (Certain) Humanity's poor bodies! They like vegetables and fruit and--- and....... (sigh)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    At last count there is over 18,000 harmful substances in cigarettes.

    *Nicotine is the most common (natural) one.

    *Carbon Monoxide

    A few added chemicals>


    *Butyric acid





    Tobacco contains nicotine. Nicotine is a drug. Therefore, when people smoke or chew tobacco, they are using a drug.

    Effects of Nicotine on the Nervous System

    In tobacco smoke, nicotine "rides" on small particles of tar. When the smoke with this nicotine/tar mixture gets to the lungs, the nicotine is absorbed quickly - nicotine reaches the brain about eight seconds after the smoke is inhaled. American cigarettes contain about 9 mg of nicotine, but because much of the nicotine is burned off, a smoker gets about 1 mg of nicotine in every cigarette. Nicotine reaches the central nervous system in about 3-5 minutes when tobacco is chewed.

    Smoking can be stimulating or relaxing - it depends on a person's mood and dosage of nicotine. Nicotine acts on the central and peripheral nervous system.

    The rapid effects of nicotine include:

    *Increases in blood pressure and heart rate

    *Faster respiration

    *Constriction of arteries

    *Stimulation of the central nervous system.

    Long term exposure to tobacco and nicotine increases the chances of cancer and results in addiction and dependence. Exactly how nicotine produces addiction and dependence is not clear, but there are some theories. In the brain, limbic pathways that use the neurotransmitter dopamine are affected by nicotine and may be responsible for some of the addictive properties. It is clear though, that nicotine is one of the most addicting substances known...just ask anyone who has tried to quit smoking.



    Carbon Monoxide in Cigarettes


    Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced from the incomplete burning of virtually any combustible product. It may accumulate indoors as a result of tobacco smoking, poorly ventilated appliances, and attached garages. Carbon monoxide enters the blood from the lungs and combines with hemoglobin, blocking the blood's ability to carry oxygen to body cells. Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure may mimic influenza and include fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, mental confusion, and rapid heart rate. Depending on the level of exposure, carbon monoxide can be immediately fatal. Long-term, low-level exposure to carbon monoxide by pregnant women have the potential to injure the developing fetus.

    Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is a small part of the air we breathe. There are many sources of carbon monoxide such as incinerators, car exhaust and gas furnaces.

    When the level of CO in your blood increases, the ability of your blood to carry oxygen is decreased. It is harmful to your body at any level and it can kill you. Long-term exposure at lower levels can lead to heart disease.

    Smoking tobacco increases the CO content of your blood. The normal level of CO for a nonsmoker depends on background levels in the air, but it is usually between 0 and 8 parts per million. The level of CO for a smoker is usually much higher. A smoker's level of CO varies according to the time of day, the number of tobacco products smoked and how the smoke is inhaled.

    A person who smokes a pack of cigarettes per day will commonly have a CO level of about 20 parts per million. A two-pack-a-day smoker may have a level of about 40 parts per million. The good news is that after stopping smoking, the CO level will return to normal within one or two days.

    Health effects related to CO may vary from person to person.

    For more information about how CO may affect you, talk with your physician.


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Nicotine, tar and other noxious gases.

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