Every day, nearly 3,200 young people at the age of 18 or younger start their day lighting a cigarette, and this statistics is only for U.S, so you can imagine how high this number is for the entire world population.
Unfortunately, most new smokers are not aware that this seemingly “fun” habit can lead to stroke, heart disease, lung diseases, diabetes, and even cancer. If you look more closely into the ingredients of cigarette, you will realize why smoking is the cause of over 480,000 deaths per year, only in America.
There are over 600 ingredients in one average cigarette, while the cigarette smoke produces more than 7,000 chemicals. If you find out where these ingredients appear except in cigarettes, you will be shocked, and will probably decide to quit smoking for good.
Dr. Luz Claudio, the environmental health scientist with Mount Sinai School, explains that one of the problems with cigarettes is that they contain hundreds of other ingredients besides those in the tobacco plant. Burning of these chemicals results in production of other chemicals which causes additional effects on our health.
R.J. Reynolds is one of the many tobacco companies which state that most ingredients in cigarettes are also found in foods and drinks approved by the Food and Drug Administration. However, there are some ingredients which appear in products you have never thought you will enter inside your body. For instance, the inorganic substance arsenic is included in rat poison and wood preservatives. Some of the dangers of arsenic are: cardiovascular toxicant, carcinogen, developmental or reproductive toxicant (as listed in the Established List of Harmful and Potentially Harmful Constituents in Tobacco Products and Tobacco Smoke by the FDA.
Other harmful, and more known cigarettes’ ingredients are nicotine, which is included in insecticides, and carbon monoxide, found in car exhaust fumes. Another shocking ingredient is the cancer-causing ingredient formaldehyde, which is also found in embalming fluid. Some other ingredients might not sound so dangerous, like hexamine or cadmium, but the first one is found in barbecue lighters, and the latter in batteries. Around 70 of the cigarette ingredients are considered carcinogenic, all of which can lead to death.
Dr. Brian Tiep, pulmonologist specializing in pulmonary rehab with City of Hope, explains the two ways cigarette smoke can influence the oxygen flow in our bodies. One way is carbon monoxide attaching to the hemoglobin, preventing transportation of oxygen through red blood cells. The other way is cyanide impeding the ability of tissues to receive and utilize oxygen.
Cigarette smoke is the cause of 30% of all cancer-related deaths only in America, as stated by the American Cancer Society. This includes 70% of lung cancer deaths among women, and 87% among men. Other lung diseases caused by cigarettes smoke can be bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic airway obstruction. Today, there are over 16 million people in U.S. suffering from some disease caused by smoking. This country needs prevention strategies to lower the number of young people who pick up smoking in order to reduce the number of smoking-related diseases and deaths.