What’s in a cigarette? The main substances responsible for the harm of smoking

The main harmful substances in cigarettes

Published on: 30/06/2022

What substances make cigarette smoke so deadly, and what is the most effective way to overcome tobacco addiction

By now, everyone is very familiar with the damage caused by cigarettes: we are constantly reminded of it by the authorities, doctors and even the terrible (but, unfortunately, accurate) pictures that are stamped on cigarette packets.

When one is at war with the enemy (and smoking is one of the worst we have), it is essential to know the enemy to best fight and defeat it.

That is why we decided to publish this article, in which we will explain the main toxic substances contained in cigarettes, what damage they can cause to your health and which are the most effective tools to win the fight against smoking.

Skull smoking a cigarette

Here are all the poisons you inhale when you smoke a cigarette

Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds in a solid and gaseous state, most of which derive from the combustion of tobacco and paper in cigarettes.

It is generally believed that the main culprits of the harmful effects associated with smoking are tar and carbon monoxide. These highly toxic substances increase the risk of severe respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. However, one should not overlook the fact that cigarette smoke contains around 90 other chemical compounds that are very dangerous to health, including:

  • toluene, is a toxic molecule often used to manufacture various industrial products, including paints, explosives and resins. It produces multi-system damage;
  • hydrogen cyanide, also known as prussic acid. It is a compound with a characteristic smell of bitter almonds and damages the tissues of the heart, blood vessels and lungs;
  • formaldehyde, an irritant substance used in the manufacture of disinfectants. It is highly carcinogenic and can promote leukaemia and throat cancer;
  • benzene, a colourless killer with a strong, characteristic smell. It is a highly flammable substance contained in petroleum and the exhaust gas of internal combustion engine vehicles. Numerous studies have shown that it increases the risk of cancer in the bone tissue, skin, breast, oral cavity, lymphatic system and liver;
  • arsenic is another carcinogenic and toxic substance used in the production of rodenticides. It can seriously damage the cardiovascular, nervous and digestive systems.

Read also: Why does e-cigarette liquid turn dark?

What about nicotine? Here is what science says

At this point, readers might ask: “But what about nicotine? Why wasn’t it mentioned in the first paragraph of the article?”.

Since it is the substance responsible for smoking addiction, I decided to dedicate a paragraph of its own to it.

Nicotine is a psychoactive stimulant alkaloid that causes the following effects:

  • increased heart rate;
  • reduction in hunger and stress;
  • acceleration of metabolism;
  • feeling of relaxation.

Contrary to what some people think, nicotine is not carcinogenic. However, this does not mean that it is not dangerous to health. For example, the constant stimulation of the circulatory system associated with continuous consumption of this substance can increase the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases such as high blood pressure and heart failure.

The greatest danger, however, is another: nicotine is a highly addictive compound that drives millions of smokers every day to inhale the poisons mentioned in the previous paragraph. For this reason, most smokers trying to stop smoking resort to nicotine aids such as patches, chewing gum and oral sprays.

Which are the most effective according to science? The answer is in the next paragraph.

British scientist researching anti-smoking therapies

According to British scientists, the electronic cigarette is the most effective tool for quitting smoking

According to various statistics, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products are equivalent. Of course, each may be more suitable than the others for a particular smoker. However, there does not seem to be a perfect one for all smokers trying to overcome nicotine addiction.

A few years ago, however, the British health agency Public Health England published the results of several independent studies conducted by researchers at King’s College London, which showed that the electronic cigarette is a much more effective anti-smoking tool than classic NRT devices.

The statistical data collected showed that 27.2% of British smokers who tried to quit smoking in 2017 chose e-cigs, compared to 18.2% who preferred nicotine replacement therapy products. But, of course, what matters is the success rate: there is a big difference between trying to quit smoking and succeeding.

Well, even in this respect, the electronic cigarette’s effectiveness seems superior. Researchers have shown that around two-thirds of smokers who switched to vaping never picked up a cigarette again! On the contrary, it is estimated that the success rate among those who choose NRT devices ranges from 30 to 45%.

Read also: British electronic cigarette liquids: should we buy them?

In conclusion

We have explained what is inside cigarette smoke and why blondes are a danger to the health of those who consume them.

Smoking is a scourge that claims thousands of victims every year, and nicotine’s highly addictive capacity prevents many smokers from changing their habits toward a healthier lifestyle.

Fortunately, several products can be of decisive help in the fight against tobacco, and according to British researchers, the most effective is the electronic cigarette.

If you are looking for a way to stop smoking or have already succeeded thanks to vaping, we invite you to look at Terpy.shop, the number 1 online shop for vapers! On our portal, you can find e-cig liquids, e-liquid flavour concentrates, neutral bases and many other top-quality products!