A smoker will tell you that they know what’s in their cigarettes. But do they know the full extent of the physical complications associated with smoking?
In an earlier blog we touched on the mental and monetary consequences of smoking (read it here) but today we’re exploring the physical.
Let’s start with the basics – a breakdown of a cigarette’s composition. These are just a few examples of the chemicals found in cigarettes – there are around 70 in total:
- Acetone – found in nail polish remover
- Acetic acid – an ingredient in hair dye
- Ammonia – a common household cleaner
- Arsenic – used in rat poison
- Benzene – found in rubber cement and gasoline
- Butane – used in lighter fluid
- Cadmium – active component in battery acid
- Carbon monoxide – released in car exhaust fumes
- Formaldehyde – embalming fluid
- Hexamine – found in barbecue lighter fluid
- Lead – used in batteries
- Naphthalene – an ingredient in mothballs
- Methanol – a main component in rocket fuel
- Nicotine – used as an insecticide
- Tar – material for paving roads
- Toluene – used to manufacture paint
Not surprisingly, it’s not just tobacco cigarettes that contain harmful substances. Of course, testing has only just begun on e-cigarettes, but they too have been found to have toxic ingredients:
- Nicotine – a highly addictive substance, used as an insecticide
- Propylene glycol – used to make things like antifreeze, paint solvent, and artificial smoke in fog machines
- Carcinogens- chemicals known to cause cancer, including acetaldehyde and formaldehyde
- Acrolein – a herbicide primarily used to kill weeds
- Diacetyl – a chemical linked to a lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans aka “popcorn lung”
- Diethylene glycol – a toxic chemical used in antifreeze
- Heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead
- Cadmium – a toxic metal found in traditional cigarettes that causes breathing problems and disease
- Benzene – a volatile organic compound (VOC) found in car exhaust
According to sources such as WebMD there are many body parts besides the lungs that are damaged when you smoke:
- Joints – smokers are more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
- Skin – smoking speeds up the skin’s aging process.
- Gums – smokers are twice as likely to have gum disease.
- Digestive System – ulcers, Crohn’s disease, colon polyps, pancreatitis and type 2 diabetes are some of the digestive illnesses related to smoking.
- Eyes – smokers are twice as likely to get macular degeneration and three times as likely to develop cataracts.
- Sex organs – male smokers are more likely to have erectile dysfunction.
- Brain – smoking can lead to blood clots in the brain that can cause any number of problems including strokes and death.
- Heart – smoking is a major cause of heart disease, which more people in the U.S. die of than all cancers combined. It hardens and narrows your arteries, and it causes your blood to thicken and clot, which could cause a heart attack.
On a lesser scale, smokers are more vulnerable to seasonal flus and colds and they are more likely to have high blood pressure. On a much larger scale, we all know about the barrage of cancers associated with the addiction.
It’s certainly not easy to stop smoking, and that’s why smokers often need a helping hand to keep them on track. This is where Quandary Pond comes in! It’s never too late to ask for help from someone who can guide you through the process for long lasting change.
References:  https://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/smoking-facts/whats-in-a-cigarette.html  https://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/smoking-facts/whats-in-an-e-cigarette.html  https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/stop-smoking-16/decision-to-quit/slideshow-smoking-body