What's in a cigarette?
Give it a try!
Methane is a principal component of natural gas and is a leadng contributor to global warming. High levels of methane gas can be potent or toxic to humans.
Ammonia compounds are commonly used in cleaning products and fertilizers. Ammonia is a poison used in pesticides, and is used to boost the impact of nicotine - the addictive element in cigarettes.
Several heavy metals are found in cigarettes, including lead, mercury, cadmium, beryllium, chromium, nickel and arsenic which is used in rat poison. Arsenic is both caustic and hazardous. Exposure to high levels of these heavy metals is linked to different types of cancer and birth defects.
Toluene is a common industrial solvent able to dissolve paints, rubber, printing ink, glues, lacquers, leather tanners and disinfectants. It causes neurotoxicity at high levels and can lead to birth defects.
Tar is a common component of roads and is also used to seal roofing shingles and hulls of ships. It is a thick black liquid mainly produced from coal. As a cigarette is smoked, the amount of tar inhaled from the cigarettes increases. The last puff can contain more than twice as much tar as the first puff. When inhaled it is deposited in the lungs and transports chemicals into the body.
Butane gas is sold as a fuel for cooking and camping. It is also used in petrol, as fuel for cigarette lighters and in aerosol sprays.
It is known to cause cancer.
Nail polish remover
Acetone is a colourless, flammable liquid used to make plastics, fibres, drugs, and other chemicals.
It is known to cause birth defects.
Beryllium is a chemical element used in nuclear weapons and is also present in variety of materials, such as coal and oil, soil, and volcanic dust.
Beryllium, as a chemical component may be inhaled from cigarette smoke.
DDT/Dieldrin is one of the most commonly used synthetic pesticides. DDT builds up in the body over time. Long-term exposure to moderate levels causes headaches, dizziness, irritability, vomiting and uncontrollable muscle movements.
Formaldehyde is used as an embalming fluid, in building materials and a range of household products. People with asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing conditions are especially sensitive to formaldehyde and it can contribute to upper respiratory illnesses, such as colds/flu and seasonal allergies. It is also a cancer-causing agent that leads to nose and throat cancer primarily.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless gas that can kill you. Smokers breath in CO making it harder for the body to oxygenate the blood. It is found in car exhaust fumes and in the production of bulk chemicals.
It is known to cause fatigue, headaches, dizziness and can lead to birth defects through second-hand smoke.
Cadmium is a toxic chemical often found in industrial workplaces and is largely used in batteries and plastic products.
It is known to cause cancer and birth defects as identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Ready to quit? Talk to your local stop smoking service.
For more information check out the health effects page.
Try these too!
Cost of smoking calculator
Quitting smoking is like giving yourself a pay rise. Use this calculator tool to see just how much you could be saving once you
What's in a cigarette?
Learn about all the nasties that exist in a cigarette - it may put you off smoking for good.
History of Tobacco Control
A look at smoking and tobacco control from the 18th Century to the present day.
What is smoking doing to your body?
Learn about some of the harmful things smoking is doing to your body.