Are Candles More Toxic Than Cigarettes?

Fragrant candles are liked by everyone when used to light up a place be it at a birthday party, Christmas party or a small family gathering. They not only decorate the home, but also create a fragrant essence in our homes and keep them pleasant.

But, do you know that they are filling you homes with toxic chemicals that have many harmful health effects on you? Most candles are as toxic as cigarettes, as they fill the air with cancer-causing chemicals.

The paraffin wax in candles contains at least 20 toxins. Among them, most toxic elements present are trichloroethane, acetone, xylene, phenol, cresol, chlorobenzene, etc. They can cause cancer, irritation to the lungs and damage to body organs including the brain.

Scented candles have additional chemicals that contribute to more health hazards. The fragrance that comes from them is laden with chemicals that we inhale. It can be more harmful than cigarettes.

Therefore, is better for us to avoid long exposure to all sorts of candles. When a candle is burnt, it spreads the toxic fumes in the surroundings, and hence people surrounding it can inhale the fumes and get affected more.

Read on the article to know the dangerous health effects of candles.

Respiratory Problems And Asthma

The paraffin wax used in candles can aggravate asthma and cause many respiratory problems. Burning of candles releases a peculiar smell of the wax, which irritates the lungs and causes respiratory issues.


Another harmful effect of scented candles is that it causes headache. Most people suffer from headache, as they inhale the fumes of a candle. This is also due to the harmful chemicals such as benzene and toluene present in the candles.

Tumours In The Kidney

The fumes from paraffin that come after lighting a candle can also cause tumours in the kidneys. Therefore, many health experts say that we should have a limited exposure to these fumes and light candles only when it is needed.

Lead In Candle Wicks

Lead has many harmful effects on our health. It causes damage to the brain, lungs, liver and a hormonal imbalance. Candle wicks contain lead, which helps them to stand straight. On burning the wick, the lead goes into the air, and is thus inhaled by the people around it.

Allergic Reactions

The synthetic scents in the candle can cause irritation to the respiratory tract and increase the respiratory secretions. This causes allergic responses in most people. This is also one of the harmful effects of candles.

Tips To Avoid Exposure To Harmful Candles

Avoid aromatherapy with candles and all scented candles. Use beeswax and soy candles as an alternative to paraffin candles. Open a window of your house, if you are using scented candles for long to avoid exposure for a longer time.


The melted paraffin in the candle releases cancer-causing fumes (benzene and toluene) in the air. They smell the same as that of a diesel engine. Inhaling the smell of candle increases the risk of cancer. This is one of the most dangerous effects of candles on our health.

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Story first published: Monday, December 14, 2015, 14:30 [IST]
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