Smoking. It wouldn’t kill you to QUIT.

My wife and I are ardent anti-smokers. Oh, we know, some of our friends choose to kill themselves slowly by this method, we understand how hard it is give up an addiction. I know because I am addicted to peanut butter and honey and banana on white bread, whereas the wife is addicted to chocolate fudge topping on ice-cream.

In order to help smokers realise the effect their habit has on them, we have gone to the effort of obtaining information regarding the average cigarette. This data was obtained from QuitSA way back in 2003 and published in my first blog at that time!

If it offends you to be told what and how you are killing yourself, you shouldn’t read this article.

Smoking. It wouldn’t kill you to QUIT.

Smoking is Addictive

Tobacco smoke contains more than 3,800 chemicals, many of which are poisonous. Some of the poisons in tobacco smoke inhaled by both smokers and passive smokers include:

acrolein, acetaldehyde, dimethylnitrosamine, isoprenoids, alkanes & alkenes, ammonia| formaldehyde, naphthalenes, amines, aromatic, hydrazine, nickel, arsenic, benzenes, chemicals that cause cancer, nicotine, aza-arenes, carbon monoxide, nitropropane, nitrogen oxides, acrylonytrile, carboxylic acids, insecticide, residues, vinyl chloride, polynucleararomatic hydrocarbons, nonvolatile nitrosamines, phenols, polonium-21, other nitrosamines, cyanide, hydrogen, pyridine urethane

Tobacco smoke contains many carcinogens, that is chemicals that cause cancer. Those identified so far include:

12 organic and inorganic compounds (including arsenic, benzene, cadmium, chromium and vinyl chloride), 11 polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, 9 N-nitrosamines, 4 N-heterocyclic hydrocarbons, 3 aromatic amines, 3 aldehydes, polonium-210 radioactive element

More Hazardous than Helpful

Many of the chemicals in tobacco smoke cause cancer when painted on the skin of laboratory animals such as rats and mice. Tobacco smoke contains naphthylamine and nitrosamines, which cause lung cancer. Smokers also absorb these carcinogenic chemicals through their lungs, contributing to cancer in other parts of the body such as the bladder, kidney and pancreas.

Tobacco smoke has been declared a Group A or known human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Contain chemicals that damage ‘cilia’ in the airways:

Tobacco smoke contains hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, nitrogen dioxide, acrolein, and formaldehyde. These chemicals paralyse the cilia (tiny hair-like processors on the cells lining the airways) which clear mucus and anything that deposits on them. Smokers’ lungs are more sensitive to cancer causing chemicals because their cilia do not clear the airways effectively.


Tar is the mixture of gases and particles inhaled when the smoker draws on a lit cigarette. It contains a large number of chemical compounds, but consists primarily of nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. A number of known carcinogens are present in tar. When cooled, tar is the sticky-brown substance which can stain smokers’ fingers, teeth and also the lung tissue.

Low Tar Cigarettes:

Many smokers are changing to lower tar brands in an attempt to reduce their exposure to the dangers of tar in cigarette smoke. While this is a step in the right direction, low tar brands may provide a false sense of security. Reducing the tar content reduces the risk of lung cancer to some extent, but there is little evidence to show it will reduce risk for other tobacco-related diseases.

An article published in Choice magazine (August 1993) exposed the fact that the tar content stated on cigarette packs can be highly misleading, and that many people change their smoking habit to compensate for the lower tar in their cigarettes (eg. by inhaling more deeply or increasing the number of cigarettes smoked each day). The benefits of smoking low tar brands are minimal compared with giving up cigarettes altogether. The single most effective way of reducing the detrimental effects of smoking is to stop completely. There is no safe level of smoking cigarettes.


Nicotine is the drug in tobacco which causes addiction among smokers. It is a highly toxic chemical, and is often used in industrial pesticides. Nicotine has a number of direct effects on the body:

Increases the heart rate and blood pressure., Stimulates the sympathetic nervous system., Causes constriction of the small blood vessels under the skin.

In the long term, nicotine:

May be a factor in causing coronary heart disease., Is implicated in the cause of reproductive and gastrointestinal disorders., Is strongly linked with the development of cancers.

Carbon Monoxide:

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, tasteless gas, giving no warning of its presence in most circumstances. In large amounts it is rapidly fatal. CO is formed when a cigarette is lit. It has a number of toxic effects on the body, the most important of which is its impairment of oxygen transportation in the blood. As CO has a chemical affinity for haemoglobin over 200 times greater than that of oxygen, it binds preferentially with the haemoglobin, thereby reducing the amount of oxygenated blood circulated to body organs and tissues. CO is strongly linked with the development of coronary heart disease.

Smoking causes lung cancer

Tobacco smoke contains many cancer-causing chemicals including tar. When you breathe the smoke in, these chemicals can damage the lungs, and can cause cancer. Lung cancer is the most common cancer caused by smoking. Lung cancer can grow and spread before it is noticed. It can kill rapidly.

Smoking causes heart disease

Tobacco smoking is a major cause of heart disease. It can cause blockages in the body’s arteries. These blockages can lead to chest pain and heart attacks. Heart attack is the most common cause of death in Australia. Smokers run a far greater risk of having a heart attack than people who don’t smoke.

One Step Closer, Three Steps Backward

Smoking kills

In Australia, tobacco smoking causes more illness and early death than using any other drug. Tobacco smoking causes more than four times the number of deaths caused by car accidents.

Smoking is addictive

Nicotine, a drug in tobacco, makes smokers feel they need to smoke. The more you smoke, the more your body will depend on getting nicotine and you may find yourself hooked. It may be difficult to give up smoking once you are hooked on nicotine. Smoking when pregnant harms your baby. Poisons in tobacco smoke reach your baby through the bloodstream. If you smoke when you are pregnant, you greatly increase the chance of having a baby of low birth-weight. Smoking may lead to serious complications, which could harm your baby.

Your smoking can harm others

Tobacco smoke causes cancer and poisons people. People who breathe in your tobacco smoke can be seriously harmed. Your smoking can increase their risk of lung cancer and heart disease. Children who breathe your smoke may suffer asthma attacks and chest illnesses.

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