What in Cigarette Smoke is Harmful?

What in Cigarette Smoke is Harmful?What in Cigarette Smoke is Harmful? : If you think that your cigar contains only nicotine, then you are greatly mistaken. It is not nicotine, but the myriad of other toxins present in tobacco and its combustion products, that are responsible for the vast majority of tobacco-caused fatal diseases.

You might be surprised to find the names of some of the deadly chemicals found in cigarette smoke. They include:


The cigar smoke contains tar, which is made up of more than 4,000 chemicals, including over 60 known to cause cancer. Some of these substances cause heart and lung diseases. Some are known for their adverse effects on bones and skins. Once inhaled, smoke condenses and about 70 per cent of the tar in the smoke is deposited in the smoker’s lungs.

Benzene (petrol additive)

A colorless 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 leukemia.

Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)

A colorless liquid, highly poisonous, used to preserve dead bodies – also found in cigarette smoke, known to cause cancer, respiratory, skin and gastrointestinal problems.


It is found everywhere in the environment but is very toxic in combination with certain elements.


It is a fragrant volatile liquid used as a solvent – found in cigarette smoke.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

An odorless, 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.


It is an addictive drug as powerful as cocaine or heroin. It alters the brain as well as a person’s behavior and mood. It is also used in insecticides


It is a potent deadly poison, which can burn your lips and can give you bad breath.  Arsenic is taken up by tobacco leaves from the soil. Although, arsenic in cigarette smoke is present in traces, arsenic concentration can increase over time in the smoker’s body

Vinyl chloride

It is used to make vinyl products. Short-term exposure causes dizziness, headaches and tiredness. Long-term exposure can lead to cancer and liver damage.

Polonium 210

It is a radioactive substance that requires special handling techniques when studied in labs. It can cause cancer of the liver and bladder, stomach ulcers, leukaemia amongst other diseases.


It is an extremely toxic substance used to manufacture acrylic acid. It is considered a possible human carcinogen and it irritates the lungs and is the cause of emphysema

Hydrogen cyanide

It is a deadly toxic poison used to kill rats. If breathed in small doses, it can cause headaches, dizziness and weakness.


It is used to manufacture paint, paint thinners, nail varnish and adhesives. Low – moderate levels can provoke tiredness, weakness, loss of appetite and memory loss.

The above chemicals such as ammonia, nicotine, lead, benzene and arsenic  in cigarette smoke are not only harmful for the smoker, but also for those who inhale the secondhand smoke.

In fact smoking is the biggest cause of preventable death in the world. The above list is a very small list. Cigarette smoke contains many more harmful gases, chemicals and toxins. Anything and everything that is bad for health is a part of smoke. So, just beware when you light your next cigarette.