• Before exploring health issues synonymous with tobacco smoking, it is useful to look back and define what is a cigarette? 

    A cigarette is a Nicotine Delivery System, a highly refined and carefully engineered product. Cigarettes are designed pacifically to deliver naturally occurring alkaloids like nicotine fast and efficiently to the body avoiding or masking them from the bodies natural defence mechanisms.

    Nicotine is the cause of addiction but cigarettes are laced with up to 600 compounds commonly referred to as additives or flavourings, which mask the serious effects some of these compounds have on the body.

    These ingredients are approved additives in food, however, were not tested by burning them. It is the burning of these substances that changes their properties. When burnt 4000 chemical compounds are made and these do most of the damage to the body, as many of them are toxic and/or carcinogenic. These include over 40 know carcinogenic including Hydrogen cyanide, Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Oxides.

    If a person takes on average 10 hits from a cigarette and smokes between 20 and 30 cigarettes a day they are sending 1mg of nicotine to the brain. That’s 300 hits of cancer causing agents per day while the nicotine addiction leaves you craving for yet another hit.

    To increase the amount of nicotine to the body household cleaners like ammonia are added to tobacco. Up to 40% more nicotine can be delivered faster to the smoker by using ammonia in the manufacture of cigarettes.

    Levulinic acids are added to cigarettes to mask the harsh taste of nicotine. These acids also bind nicotine to the brains receptors and increase the kick felt by the nicotine. The more nicotine that is bound on the receptors the bigger the kick the smoker experiences.

    Glycyrrhizin, liquorice and cocoa are compounds added to cigarettes to make the act of smoking a more enjoyable experience by masking the bitter taste of the nicotine. They are also added because in fact these compounds are bronchodilators, that is they dilate or open up the lungs membranes which allow more nicotine to enter the body.

     what is a cigarette

    Other common additives found in the manufacture of cigarettes are Arsenic (Rat Poison), Formaldehyde (Body Preservative), Acetone (Nail Polish Remover) Hexamine (BBQ Lighter), Cadmium (Rechargeable Batteries), Toluene (Industrial Solvent), DDT (Insecticide), Methanol (Rocket Fuel) and Lead (Petrol Fumes).

    In 1995 Philip Morris recalled 8 billion cigarettes after traces of the chemical methyl isothiocyanate (Pesticide) were found in its filters. Internal documents from the Liggett Group revealed arsenic, DDT and taxophene were found in their products. Tobacco is now grown in developing countries were high, often unregulated use of pesticides are used. In the three months from seedbed to transplanting Kenyan farmers are recommended there should be 16 separate applications of pesticides on their crops.

    1000 people give up smoking everyday – they die! View images of the Silent Killer.

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