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What's in cigarette smoke?
Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and poisons. More than 70 of them have been shown to cause cancer in human studies or lab tests. Some of the poisons and chemicals in cigarette smoke are:
- carbon monoxide (found in your car’s exhaust)
- ammonia (found in window cleaners)
- cadmium (found in batteries)
- arsenic (found in rat poison)
- chromium VI (hexavalent compounds)
- ethylene oxide
- nickel compounds
- N-nitrosamines such as N’-nitrosonornicotine (NNN) and 4-(N-methylnitrosoamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK)
- vinyl chloride
When you smoke, many of these chemicals mix together and form a sticky tar. The tar sticks to tiny hairs that line the insides of your lungs – hairs that are supposed to keep your lungs clean by sweeping out dirt and germs. But when they’re covered in tar, they can’t do their job properly. This is what leads to smoker’s cough to spit up the dirt that’s still in your lungs. It also leads to many other health problems.