What Chemicals are Really in a Cigarette? 

October 9, 2023

Chemicals Inside a Cigarette. 

Tobacco that is found in a cigarette is not just made up of nicotine and tobacco leaves. Other chemicals and substances are added for flavour, shelf life and mouth feel. There are thousands of chemicals in tobacco, and at least 70 of these are known to cause cancers. The cancer-causing chemicals are known as carcinogens.  

Some chemicals found in tobacco include:  

  • Nicotine, a highly addictive substance that is relatively harmless.  
  • Tar, a sticky brown substance that causes staining of the teeth, yellowing of fingers and is a carcinogen that damages the lungs, making their ability to absorb oxygen and fight infection decline.  
  • Formaldehyde, a flammable chemical that causes irritation and damage to the airways, this is also a carcinogen.  
  • Benzene, also a flammable chemical that is found in crude oils. In severe cases, benzene has been seen to decrease red blood cells and damage bone marrow.  

What chemicals are released when you smoke a cigarette? 

Carbon monoxide is the most well-known chemical to be released when a cigarette is smoked. Carbon Monoxide is a poisonous gas that takes the place of oxygen in our blood, forcing the heart to work harder and causing lung damage. As a result, cells and tissues within the body are also stopped from receiving the oxygen they require, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. Smoking during pregnancy also prevents the baby from accessing the oxygen required for growth, possibly causing low birth weight, premature birth, and SIDS. 


How to quit smoking? 

If you would like support in quitting smoking, join One You today using https://bit.ly/OneYou-WM-RBKC. 

Adapted from Kingston Kick It’s “What Chemicals are Really in a Cigarette?