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Lighter Fluid, Sewer Gas And Other Chemicals That Go Into Your Body When You Smoke

Smoking tobacco is bad for your health, no matter how you do it. All tobacco products contain unsafe substances, like acetone, tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide. Those substances you inhale don't just affect your lungs - they can affect your whole body.

Smoking can lead to various health issues and long-term effects on your overall health. Smoking can increase your risk of various health problems over time, but some immediate effects.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey India, nearly 267 million adults (15 years and older) use tobacco (29 per cent of all adults). It is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths [1].

Every time you smoke, you consume hazardous substances that can have detrimental effects on your health. Take a look at the ingredients in cigarettes and how it affects your body.

To better understand the chemicals present in cigarettes, we have mentioned the generic names of those chemicals.

Chemicals That Go Into Your Body When You Smoke

In addition to thousands of chemicals, tobacco smoke contains at least 70 known carcinogens. In addition, tobacco smoke contains several chemicals, including:

  • Nicotine (the addictive drug that produces the effects in the brain that people are looking for) [2]
  • Ammonia [3]
  • Methanol [4]
  • Carbon monoxide [5]
  • Arsenic [6]
  • Methane [7]
  • Acetic acid [8]
  • Butane [9]
  • Cadmium [10]
  • Stearic acid [11]
  • Hexamine [12]
  • Toluene [13]
  • Paint [14]

How do the chemicals in cigarettes affect your health?

Nicotine (insecticide): In addition to being a natural insecticide, nicotine also serves as an archetype for many synthetic neonicotinoid insecticides. Nicotine is a highly addictive and dangerous chemical. The substance can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, the flow of blood to the heart and a narrowing of the arteries. Nicotine may also contribute to the hardening of arterial walls, leading to heart attacks.

Ammonia (toilet cleaner): Tobacco manufacturers use ammonia or ammonium salts to manufacture cigarettes. Smoking can become more addictive due to ammonia compounds altering nicotine's ability to be absorbed into the body. In addition, regular exposure to ammonia can irritate the nose, throat, and respiratory tract. It may even result in lung damage or death.

Methanol (rocket fuel): Methanol consumption may result in various adverse health effects, including neurological, gastrointestinal, and other effects.

Carbon monoxide: Smokers' blood contains carbon monoxide, which makes it difficult for oxygen to reach their organs and muscles. Smokers may suffer heart and blood vessel damage from oxidizing chemicals, which are highly reactive.

Arsenic (poison): Tobacco contains arsenic, so the smoke you inhale from cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, and hookahs also contains arsenic. When you smoke, your body has a harder time eliminating arsenic before it damages your cells. As a result, smoking and exposure to arsenic can increase your risk of lung, kidney, and bladder cancer and heart disease.

Methane (sewer gas): Methane contributes significantly to global warming. It can cause headaches, difficulty breathing and suffocation, nausea and vomiting, heart palpitations, dizziness and blurry vision, and flu-like symptoms.

Acetic acid (vinegar): As a vapour, acetic acid is very irritating to the eyes, mucous membranes, upper respiratory tract, and skin. When acetic acid solutions are in contact with the skin or eyes, they can cause severe burns.

Butane (lighter fluid): In cigarettes, butane is used to maintain a high temperature at the cigarette's tip. It converts nicotine into vapour, which is more easily absorbed by the body. When inhaled, butane is extremely toxic to humans and can result in abnormalities of the heart and lungs.

Cadmium (batteries): Smoke from cigarettes contains cadmium. This highly toxic metal causes oxidative damage to various biomolecules in the body. Inhalation of short-term acute cadmium is consistent with the pathology of smoking-related lung diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Stearic acid (candle wax): Stearic acid is mainly used in soaps, detergents, and cosmetic products such as shaving creams and shampoos. Stearic acid should not be used on its own. There is a possibility that it will irritate a person's skin and cause other minor health problems.

Hexamine (adhesive, lighter fluid): A skin allergy may be caused by hexamine. A very low exposure may result in itching and a skin rash if an allergy develops. In addition, exposure to hexamine can result in asthma attacks accompanied by shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and/or chest tightness.

Toluene (industrial solvent): Toluene may adversely affect your nervous system (brain and nerves). There may be temporary effects on the nervous system, such as headaches, dizziness, or unconsciousness.

Shocking, right? No one in their right mind will consume these chemicals in their original form, but why does it not become a concern when it is tightly packed in a roll of tobacco?

On A Final Note...

Quitting smoking can be challenging, but your doctor can assist you in making a plan for success. Consult them for advice. A wide range of non-prescription and prescription medications are available to assist you in quitting. Because smoking affects every system of the body, quitting smoking is essential to living a longer and happier life.

Story first published: Saturday, August 6, 2022, 14:30 [IST]
Read more about: smoking side effects
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