Category Archives: Smoking Facts

Facts about smoking cigarettes

Parts includes in a Cigarette

Do You Know What’s in Your Cigarette?

After manufacturing, a cigarette contains 20% expanded tobacco (tobacco puffed with carbon dioxide to be used as a filler), tobacco leaf stems, and reclaimed tobacco.

30% is made of reconstituted tobacco. The remaining 50% is tobacco treated with sugar to help cover up nicotine’s bitter taste, and to help enhance the absorption of the nicotine in the body.

There are also thousands of chemicals used in the cigarette manufacturing process, many of which are known carcinogens.

Tobacco By-Products

Creating a tobacco blend of flue-cured brightleaf, burley tobacco, and oriental tobacco produces a lot of tobacco by-products. As an added economic benefit for cigarette manufacturers, this waste is processed back into forms to be used again later on in the cigarette making process.

Reconstituted tobacco (“recon”) is made from a combination of stripped tobacco leaf stems, tobacco dust swept from the floor of the factory, and expired cigarettes sent back to the processing plant to be reclaimed.

Adding Chemicals to Cigarettes

Parts includes in a CigaretteChemicals are used in the manufacturing process of cigarette because they help with “nicotine manipulation.” Recon is treated with ammonia because it enhances the absorption of nicotine in the smoker’s body when the cigarette is smoked. Chemicals are added to the tobacco blend to also help with the burning process: without them, cigarettes would probably burn out.

Just a few of the chemicals added to cigarettes include:

  • carbon monoxide
  • arsenic
  • hydrogen cyanide
  • acetone
  • butane
  • formaldehyde
  • sulfuric acid
  • freon

Other Cigarette Additives

Cigarette manufacturers use other additives in the tobacco blend to smooth the taste or experience of smoking. If no add-ons were included, the cigarette when smoked would be very harsh to the smoker. Additives also help define the distinct brand of cigarettes.

Some add-ons include:

  • chocolate
  • butter fat
  • glycerol
  • sugar

Want to know more? Watch this History Channel video clip >

Cigarettes in a Pile

How Much Tar in That Cigarette?

The yellow stains on a smoker’s fingers and teeth is caused by the tar that results from smoking tobacco.

Tar causes great damage to a person’s lungs as it kills the cilia, affecting breathing ability.

The accumulation of this substance can be difficult to imagine, but a graphic video demonstrates for people the levels of tar that is extracted from approximately 20 packs of cigarettes.

Smoking Video Shows Tar Extraction

The video Still Smoking? Watch This! shows an experiment where almost 400 cigarettes are “smoked” through water using a vacuum. The water turns brown and then eventually black as the tar is extracted from the cigarettes. The more “tarry” the water, the more smoke is trapped as well.

Cigarettes in a PileThe experimenters then boil the tar water. After the water as evaporated, only the thick black tar remains. After letting the substance dry, the result is a sticky, crusty tar crust.

This experiment was done to stimulate what substance settles in a smoker’s lungs.

More Reason to Quit Smoking

The cigarettes used in this experiment contained 18 mg of tar. Cigarette companies manufacture cigarettes in three categories:

  • low tar cigarettes with 7 mg of tar or less
  • medium tar cigarettes with 15 to 21 mg of tar
  • high tar cigarettes with 22 mg of tar or more

Cigarettes contain over 4,00 chemicals, including more than 40 known carcinogens. Tar in cigarettes is the byproduct of smoking tobacco. Tar build up in the lungs causes damage as it prevents proper functioning. The accumulation of tar in a smoker’s body contributes to several health problems, including the following few:

  • emphysema
  • bronchitis
  • lung cancer
  • chronic respiratory disease
  • mouth cancer
  • throat cancer.

Watch the video Still Smoking?

See for yourself the amount of tar that’s produced

On Average 10 Year Decrease in Life Expectancy for Smokers

If you are a smoker who just doesn’t want to quit, then you are subjecting yourself to a shorter life span than average.

By continuing to smoke, you have a greater chance of losing 10 years off your life, time that could be spent with your loved ones.

You also subject yourself to a general decline in health during those last years of your life while you are afflicted with one or several health complications as a result from smoking. These are health struggles that you also subject your loved ones to witness. Is it worth it?

What Quitting Smoking Can Do For You

Now that you know that a long-term smoker, on average, has a life expectancy of about 10 years less than a non-smoker, it is time to seek support and help to stop smoking now.

If you have smoked since your teen years or young adulthood, your chances of reversing any damage is significant. By stopping before the age of 35, you greatly improve your risk of any damage compared to people who have never smoked.

If you choose to stop smoking prior to the age of 50, the risk of dying from smoking-related diseases decreases by fifty percent. You can decrease that even further by making better health, nutrition, and diet choices.

Not Quitting Can Kill You

Quitting smoking not only dramatically improves your overall life expectancy, but it can improve your general well-being and overall health. No matter what your age or how long you’ve been smoking, it’s never too late to quit.

If you are hard-headed and need greater evidence on the decrease in life expectancy of smokers, take a look at this very long list of celebrities whose shortened life spans were caused from smoking tobacco.

As you can see, so many talented individuals died much earlier than the average life expectancy. And those who lived until their 80s struggled through many years of health afflictions—such as heart attack, emphysema, lung cancer, and throat cancer—due to their dangerous addiction to smoking.

Celebrity or not, no smoker is immune from smoking-related illnesses or even death.

Click for >  Celebrities Who Died From Smoking Related Illness

Dangers of Smoking Label

The FDA’s 9 New Cigarette Health Warnings

September 22, 2012 marks a monumental change in the appearance of cigarette packaging in the United States.

At this time, new warning labels must appear on all cigarette packs. Each warning targets a specific danger of smoking with a graphic color image that communicates the intent of the warning. There were 9 significant warnings decided upon out of the initial 36 proposed in November 2010 when the label revamping ruling selection began. Part of the process included a time of evaluating public comments.

On September 22, 2012 big tobacco manufacturers will no longer be able to distribute cigarettes in the United States unless their package designs display the one of the 9 warning labels.

Graphic Incentives to Quit Smoking

New FDA Cigarette Package Warning LabelThe final selection of 9 FDA cigarette warning labels hope to target youth smokers making them more aware to empower them to never start smoking. The labels also increase awareness of the some of the health risks and diseases related to smoking by providing a graphic incentive to appeal to smokers to get them to quit.

Since research suggests that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol and that the frequency of smoking is often what prevents people from quitting, a strong intent behind these graphic labels is that perhaps each time someone picks up a pack, the image could put them over the edge into the say no or quit category.

The 9 cigarette label warnings cover these concerns:

  1. Cigarettes are addictive.
  2. Tobacco smoke can harm your children.
  3. Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease.
  4. Cigarettes cause cancer.
  5. Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease.
  6. Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby.
  7. Smoking can kill you.
  8. Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.
  9. Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.

Along with each of the warnings are corresponding smoking facts that give smokers a lot to think about.

Not Soon Enough for Many

We can’t help but think how many lives would have been different had smokers truly been informed of the dangers of inhaling tobacco smoke before they picked up their habit or exposed others to the toxic fumes. I think only those with a death wish would have started smoking or exposed their loved ones.

Just recently, we received this heartbreaking letter from a caregiver taking care of a parent who developed serious health problems brought on from smoking and died a horrible death. Should we all have the choice of a better quality of life?

Smoking Killed my Mom: 4 Years As A Caregiver

FDA Warning LabelThere are no words to express fully express our condolences to the author of this letter. For their privacy we are not including their name, but the content is published in its unedited form:

Thank you so much for taking the time to express your condolences. I am devastated by the loss of my mother, and I am not handling her death well at all. The fact that it was so senseless makes it that much harder to bear. The fact that she suffered so needlessly…

She had gangrene in her little toe. That’s how it all started. She needed surgery to unblock her right carotid artery. It was discovered that her circulation was completely blocked from her right hip to her foot. The surgeons unblocked the arteries and put stents in. Her toe even healed, but she wouldn’t quit smoking. When she started showing signs of the same problem, I made her quit. We got into huge arguments, but it was already too late. They ended up amputating the entire front of her right foot.

Every day, I had to change her bandage at least twice. I had to flush this gaping, horrific wound, put antibiotic cream over it, then re-wrap it in clean gauze. Every night, I had to listen to her beg me for more pain medication that I could not give her. After three months of hell, the doctors amputated her right leg below the knee. This wound healed, but her independence had been seriously compromised forever. Her ability to breathe was rapidly deteriorating as well.

StethoscopeNear the end of March 2010, she said she needed to go to the hospital because she couldn’t breathe. Five minutes more, and they would have had to intubate her. They put her on steroids to help reduce the inflammation in her seriously damaged lungs. A few days later, they did a bronchoscopy and suctioned a bunch of crap out of her lungs. She was sent to a nursing home to recoup. The steroids raised her blood sugar and made insulin necessary. They also caused her to gain a significant amount of weight, which further hindered her ability to breathe.

Right before she was due to come home, the nursing home sent her to the ER. When my best friend and I arrived, she wasn’t in any distress. Mom really wasn’t sure why they had sent her at all. Unfortunately, sitting on the gurney for so long caused a massive cramp in her hip. She went into respiratory distress and deteriorated rapidly. She wound up staying in the hospital for a week. That’s when her doctor called and told me that there was no way I would be able to handle her care on my own anymore. He ordered her to be placed in a nursing home. You don’t even want to know the hell that the two of us went through with that place. She had pneumonia in December of 2010. When she had sufficiently recovered, they had to amputate her left leg below the knee as well.

The Saturday before she died (she died the week of Easter Sunday), I went to pick up her laundry as usual. She was sleeping, but very restless. She cried out in pain and sat straight up in bed. I asked her if she was okay. She said yes. I asked her why she hadn’t eaten any of her dinner yet (her tray was untouched, unusual for her). She picked up her fork and started pushing the food around. “I’ve been eating” she said. I went to fill her pitcher with fresh ice water. I came back and she was sound asleep again.

I asked the two aides in the room how long she had been like this. They shrugged and said, “She’s been making those funny noises all day.” I explained to them that only once in a while was normal and that they should be a ‘tad more concerned’ (I was being very sarcastic, of course). I went out into the hall to speak with the nurse, who informed me that Mom had been complaining of pain in her right hip, so they gave her (insert name of a narcotic pain pill here). I shook my head ‘no’, and told the nurse that the only pain reliever her doctor had ever approved was regular-strength Tylenol. Narcotic pain pills suppress the breathing too much in people with COPD. She said that’s what the doctor had ordered. Turns out it wasn’t her doctor, but the doctor on call.

Symbol for No SmokingTuesday morning at 6:30 a.m., the phone rings. Mom’s eyes were open, but she was non-responsive. By the time my brother and I reached the hospital she was already gone. To have to see her laying on that gurney just about killed me. I honest to god don’t think I’m going to get through this. I am beyond furious that these companies can literally get away with murder. Nobody you love should have to die the way my mother did. I did everything in my power to make her well. I failed. I don’t think I can live with that, especially since I’m about to lose our house and everything my family ever owned. I am terrified out of my wits. Sorry this is so long…I just needed to talk. There’s so much that I left out of this…so much more. Never have I known a hell like what we had to go through. It just isn’t right.

It is our hopes that you will pass on this article on to others who are enticed to smoke, or your loved ones who do. Sometimes a wake up call like this true story can make a huge difference.

Cigarettes are Addictive and Infectious

Everyone knows cigarettes are extremely dangerous and addictive.

An American researcher wanted to also draw attention to how infectious the tobacco in cigarettes is, as the substance is laden with bacteria.

In fact, there is so much bacteria present in tobacco, Amy Sapkoto believes the number of germs could certainly be compared to the number of toxic chemicals and carcinogens that have been isolated.

The Theory

Environmental scientist from the University of Maryland, Amy Sapkota, conducted a study that looked at the bacteria found in tobacco and whether or not these bacteria could possibly be a source of infection for a person who comes in contact with it. Sapkota conjectured that simply touching a cigarette or putting one unlit in the mouth can encourage an impairment of bodily functions.

Types of Bacteria Found

The researchers examined the genetic makeup of the bacteria they were able to isolate from the tobacco under sterile conditions. The genetic material of almost 800 different bacteria was compared to the bacteria in the four most smoked brands of cigarettes in Western countries: Marlboro Red, Camel, Kool Filter Kings, and Lucky Strike Original Red.

A few of the bacteria found in the cigarettes researched in this study include:

  • Campylobacter, a germ leading to food poisoning and Guillan-Barre Syndrome;
  • Clostridium, another germ causing food poisoning as well as leading to pneumonia;
  • Corynebacterium, another pneumonia-triggering bacteria;
  • E.Coli;
  • Klebsiella, associated with pneumonia and urinary tract infections;
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa, another bacteria also associated to cases of pneumonia and urinary tract infections;
  • Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, a third bacteria playing a part in pneumonia and urinary tract infections; and
  • several staphylococcus species.

Infectious Bacteria

Cigarettes and BacteriaSapkota doesn’t heed attention to claims that a burning cigarette would kill any bacteria present in the tobacco.

Instead, she theorizes that the cigarette smoke picks up bacteria as it is inhaled, and deposits it into the smoker’s lungs. From here, the bacteria thrives and contributes to the formation of disease.

Reference: Cigarettes might be infectious . . . and, presumably, people wouldn’t need to light up to risk getting sick [http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/55678/title/Cigarettes_might_be_infectious]

The Effects of Smoking on Your Health, Wallet & Family

The Surgeon General notes smoking-related deaths to be the most preventable cause of death in the United States.

One in four Americans smoke cigarettes, and each year, over 400,000 people die from smoking-related diseases.

The habit of smoking also leads to tremendous financial and interpersonal relationship strains.

What Smoking Does to Your Health

Each puff of cigarette draws over 4,000 chemicals into the lungs and through the body. Continuous exposure to smoke and these chemicals leads to cellular changes in the body’s tissue, eventually causing cancers such as throat and lung cancer.

Smokers’ hearts beat an extra 20 to 25 times per minutes, increasing the risk of heart attack. There is also a 15% higher chance of a smoker having a deadly stroke or heart attack than a non-smoker.

Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, a lethal substance that decreases oxygen levels in the skin, brain, and other organs. The results are a reduced ability to comprehend, an increase in wrinkly-greyed skin, and a significant reduction in energy.

Smoking increase the body’s mucous production, which then increases the chances of bacteria and viruses to multiply. This leads to a smoker experiencing more colds, flus, and cases of bronchitis than non-smokers. Additionally, smoking affects the white blood cells’ functions, leaving smokers with a harder time fighting illness.

What Smoking Does to Your Wallet

All smokers are fully aware of the price of cigarettes when they purchase each pack. But if the price of each pack of cigarettes purchased over a span of 15 years for a smoker with a half-pack a day habit, the sum would total over $16,000.

In addition to the daily cost of this addiction, smokers pay more for health insurance due to the increased health consequences.

What Smoking Does to Your Family

Smoking has dire effects on family members: spouses of smokers are 20% more likely to contract lung disease due to the presence of second hand smoke. The exposure to second hand smoke also causes illness and death in children.

Families also endure extreme emotional trauma when a loved one becomes ill or dies because of smoking-related diseases.

The Real Cost of Smoking

Teen Smokers Often Find Depression Follows Taking up Smoking

A commonly admitted reason teenagers have began smoking is that they are seeking a boost for their mood.

Canadian researchers surveyed teen smokers to determine how smoking actually affected their moods.

What they discovered was that smoking can actually depress and not enhance the teens’ mental state of being.

Teenage Smoking and Moods: The Study

The teens were divided into three groups. In one group were the teens who had never smoked. The other two were for teen smokers who smoked for self medicating reasons, and for teens smokers who smoked but not for self medicating reasons.

Using a scale, the participants were asked to rate the occurrence of several moods and depression symptoms, including lethargy, sleep disruption, feelings of sadness or depression, feelings of hopelessness, feeling nervous or tense, and bouts of worry.

Symptoms of Depression

The researchers found that the teen smokers were much more likely to experience depressed moods that the teens who were non-smokers. Furthermore, the teens who reportedly started smoking as a method to increase their moods experienced more frequent depressive symptoms than the teen smokers who did not using smoking as a form of self medication.

Beyond Physical Harm: Emotional Consequences of Smoking

The physical health consequences of smoking are widely known: coughing, difficulty breathing, decreased immunity, increased chance of lung disease or lung issues, increased heart problems or occurrence of heart attack—even increased chance of death as a culmination of these symptoms.

What this study allows us to see are the effects of smoking on emotional health and well being, too. While symptoms of depression do not necessarily lead to the disease depression, they certainly put people at a higher risk. The teenage years can be trying for most adolescents, whether or not smoking is an addiction that is picked up.

Reference: Smoking Seems to Backfire on Teens Hoping for a Lift: http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=642605

What Do Nicotine, Sugar, Urine, and Arsenic Have in Common?

Who would ever think of putting nicotine, sugar, urine, and arsenic in the same sentence?

If you have ever smoked a cigarette you may not have to speak the words in a sentence together to experience their relationship.

Here are a few cigarette facts!

The Power of Nicotine

When inhaling the smoke from a cigarette, the nicotine content reaches the brain in only ten seconds. The first time smokers can tell you that from the dizzy buzz they feel.

Also, researchers have found just after smoking a cigarette the nicotine is found in every part of the body. Women who smoke will also find it in their breast milk shortly after lighting up. So babies consuming breast milk are also consuming nicotine on top of being exposed to second hand smoke.

This makes a person wonder why many major manufacturers of cigarettes are increasing the amount of tobacco they put in their deadly sticks. It is a fact that Harvard University and the Massachusetts Health Department discovered that between the years of 1997 bad 2005 Camel, Doral, and Newport increased nicotine content by as much as eleven percent.

Cigarette makers also have found a way to make the nicotine more potent. They combine the tobacco with active ingredients which are further enhanced with special production methods to ensure the nicotine strength is many times more potent that the natural nicotine substance found in the tobacco plant.

Cigarette Additives Include 20% Sugar

pic-sugarWe all know how habit forming nicotine is and its ill side effects. But not many realize that cigarettes also contain sugar.

Up to twenty percent of a cigarette contains sugar, which is one of the most unhealthy substances for those already dealing with diabetes.

No one really knows what happens when sugar is burned and how ingesting its smoke can effect the body. So really diabetics are taking in sugar just by smoking. Maybe this is one reason why many smokers are diabetics who have struggling immune systems.

To top this off, cigarette makers blend in a few toppings to sweeten the pot.

Here is a list of some of the cigarette topping ingredients:

  • clove
  • licorice
  • orange oil
  • apricot stone
  • lime oil
  • lavender oil
  • dill seed oil
  • cocoa
  • carrot oil
  • mace oil
  • myrrh
  • beet juice
  • bay leaf
  • oak
  • rum
  • vanilla
  • vinegar

Next on the list are 43 known carcinogens plus arsenic and formaldehyde. We also have been warned of how dangerous of lead poisoning so why would cigarettes contain this heavy metal? Why is there lead in cigarettes? You will also find: hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide,  and ammonia. Yum!

Are You Inhaling Yellow Smoke?

Now this next ingredient is very strange! Urea is a a chemical compound that is a major component in urine. Yep, urea is also added to cigarettes to enhance their flavor? Personally we don’t really quite understand why any component found in Urine would taste good.

Rather than naming the more than 4,000 ingredients contained in cigarettes, we will stop here. When someone passes you who is smoking after reading these cigarette facts you may be inclined to run the other direction as fast as you can!

One Smoker’s Advice to Teens: Add up the Costs of Cigarettes

While most adults would counsel the greatest negative involved with smoking cigarettes is increased risk of lung cancer.

This truth is far away in the minds of most young smokers, they tend to not even think about it.

So, if you’re a teen smoker and “not afraid” of lung cancer, just think about the following here-and-now downsides to smoking.

They should be more than enough to convince you to quit.

Nicotine Addiction Facts

Nicotine is considered the most addictive substance known to man, and the longer you smoke, the more powerful your addiction becomes. It is much easier for a smoker of a few years to overcome nicotine addiction than for someone who has smoked for decades. Quit now, while it’s still fairly easy to do. You will never regret the decision.

Your Supporting the Tax Man

Unfair (but life itself is not fair, as you are just now learning), cigarettes are an easy target for tax revenue generation. Because of money grubbing politicians and sheep-like citizens, the price of a pack increases constantly and exponentially – and that trend is guaranteed to continue. If you think it’s financially painful to support your habit today with the cost of a pack at more than $4, just imagine how badly your bank account will suffer when that pack costs $10 or more a decade from now.

Nicotine Normalcy Habit

Think about what nicotine provides you: Your first few smokes gave you a very short, very minor high. While that was certainly interesting, you should realize by now that as your body has become addicted to nicotine, the only “benefit” you’re provided by the drug is a feeling of normalcy. Think hard about this one: You’re paying money for a drug that does nothing, other than allowing you to feel normal – allowing you to obtain the exact same state of normalcy that non-smokers obtain without doing anything, or paying any money. Now is that stupid, or what?

Do the Math

Break out your calculator and punch in the following numbers for a smoker who starts in 2008 and continues for four decades: 40 years x 365 days x average of 1.5 packs per day x average of $8 per pack (I’m being conservative on the average price; in reality, it will probably be even greater) = $175,200.

That’s no typo: $175,200. Think about what you could do with $175,000! You like boats? How about a 40-foot live-aboard ocean sailboat? Cars? You could buy four brand-new Corvettes. Or a very high-performance airplane, or 50 percent of a beautiful home, or a business, or medical/law school, or…

Teen Cost of SmokingOr…you could just buy cigarettes. And feel normal. Just like a non-smoker feels. All for the low, low price of just $175,200.

Quit while it’s still easy, and take all the pennies you used to spend on smokes and throw ’em in a big jar. It would only take a few years before you could buy the first of your four Corvettes.

Source:  The Reporter in Letters to the Editor, Paul Domeier, Coarsegold

Teens Who Smoke Truly are Acting Brainless

Parents now have another reason to worry about their children smoking.

Nicotine might cause the teenage brain to develop abnormally, resulting in changes to the structure of white matter — the neural tissue through which signals are relayed.

Teenagers who smoke, or whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, are also more likely to suffer from auditory attention deficits, meaning they find it harder to concentrate on what is being said when other things are happening at the same time.

Leslie Jacobsen of Yale University School of Medicine and colleagues used diffusion tensor imaging, which measures how water diffuses through brain tissue, to study the brains of 33 teenagers whose mothers had smoked during pregnancy. Twenty-five of the teens were daily smokers. The team also studied 34 teens whose mothers had not smoked, of whom 14 were daily smokers.

Both prenatal and adolescent exposure to tobacco smoke were associated with changes in white matter in brain pathways that relay signals to the ear.

The changes were greatest in teenagers who smoked, suggesting the brain is particularly vulnerable to the effects of nicotine during adolescence, when many neural pathways are maturing (Journal of Neuroscience).Recently, Jacobsen’s team reported that prenatal and teenage exposure to smoke were associated with reduced auditory and visual attention, with boys being particularly vulnerable to auditory deficits.

In such boys, “the levels of disruption are significant enough that if you were already struggling at school it could tip you towards school failure,” Jacobsen says. She now hopes to test whether the changes are reversible, by scanning the brains of teenagers who give up smoking.

David McAlpine, director of the Ear Institute at University College London, says the findings are interesting because the key brain pathway affected by nicotine helps determine how we process auditory information when distracted by other tasks. “The fact that smokers show changes in this pathway means they may be less able to hear what’s being said,” he says.

Symbol for Not Using Your BrainNicotine binds to receptors in the brain that regulate neural development. Inappropriate stimulation could cause abnormal connections to form, says Jacobsen. Such misconnections are already thought to affect babies exposed to nicotine before birth, but this goes further:

“The new findings show that there is a downstream effect on white matter — the magnitude of which is pretty remarkable,” says Richard Todd at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri. “It seems the brain remains vulnerable long into adolescence.”

Source: Linda Geddes, New Scientist Magazine