|I am trying to find out what kind of poisions are
in cigarette smoke. can you help me?
|Question Date: 1999-10-28|
There are around 4000 chemicals in cigarettes.
The one you hear of the most is nicotine, the
chemical that makes people want keep smoking and
makes it very hard to quit smoking. Other
chemicals found in cigarette tobacco are such
things as formaldehyde (which is the stuff that
you preserve bodies in when people or animals
die), acetone (which is the stuff that you remove
nail polish with), acetic acid (vinegar), ammonia
(stuff that you clean the floors with), arsenic
(stuff in rat poison), carbon monoxide (the stuff
that comes out of a car tail pipe), toluene (an
industrial solvent, also found in gasoline), as
well as several metal such as mercury (which made
the Mad Hatter mad) and lead (which can lead to
learning disabilities), and many, many others that
I can't pronounce the name of! In addition, a
majority of these chemicals have been found to
cause cancer in humans.
Cigarettes contain nicotine, a chemical poison
that the tobbacco plant makes to prevent insects
from eating the plant. It turns out that nicotine
binds to the surface of nerve cells in the brain
of humans. Upon binding, it stimulates the nerve
cell and gives the smoker an "awake", "buzzy"
feeling (according to smokers). The nicotine is
addictive and makes the smoker crave more
Cigarette smoke also contains tar
- a substance much like the black goop they put on
the roadways. Tar causes cancer. This gooey tar
coats the lungs, turning them black. The tar is a
poison to the cells in the lungs. The tar
chemicals, called polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons, get into the lung cells and cause
mutations in the DNA of the cell. Mutations are
chemical changes in the DNA that cause the wrong
proteins to be made by the cell. Sometimes, the
cell will change from a non-growing state to a
rapidly growing state when it is mutated. The cell
grows out of control, divides, and multiplies,
eventually forming a lump of cells, called a
tumor. Cells break off from the tumor and travel
throughout the body and form more tumors.
Eventually the tumors will disrupt some vital
system - like the brain or the heart or the lung,
and the smoker will die.
cigarette makers claimed there was no scientific
evidence that cigarettes caused cancer. But the
connection has been supported by years of
scientific study. Finally last month on company
that makes cigarettes admitted that smoking causes
Some of the poisons in cigarette smoke are:
Suspected and known
Suspended particulates that
contain tars and other carcinogens
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