Basic ingredients

We all know that tobacco contains nicotine, a drug chemically related to heroin and cocaine. It is more addictive than those two, but gives less pleasure to the addict.

But cigarette smoke contains a lot more poison than nicotine alone. In fact, it contains 4,000 different ingredients, of which 40-50 (depending on the source) are carcinogens (i.e., cancer-causing agents).

Since cigarette packs do not contain a list of ingredients (it would not fit on the pack anyway), here are some of the main ones in alphabetic order, plus brief description.

If you smoke, go ahead and light up before you continue, because any future lightups may not be the same.

And no, I am not mocking you by saying that: I am one of you. I am on my third day without a cigarette, going through withdrawal, and posting this to stay motivated. Trust me, I had no idea of all this crap that I have been inhaling many times a day. In a way I am glad I only searched for and discovered these ingredients two days after I quit!

Basic Ingredients

Cancer Causing Agents


I based this list on information provided by Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which runs the web site.

Additionally, Chicago Tribune mentions 25 kinds of alcoholic substances and 55 acids. You can see their list at (yes, it's a picture).

It curls about me in silence,
Wraps me in its loving embrace.
I don't know how many times
We've done this dance
You twirl and float carelessly about.

I always held perfectly still.
I know, deep down,
That were I to join in
You'd only flee from my terrible form.
It doesn't get to me.

Voices, always in my ears,
Screaming soundless insults,
Taunting, mocking, degrading
Inarticulate assaults,
They always failed miserably when they tried to stop me.

Here I lay, while you rest,
Above me, around me, through me.
Now we can be at peace,
With our legs stretched out
No hurtful words can find us here.

Re: Basic ingredients

This is all most likely true, but if you replace the tobacco with pretty much any other organic tissue, you will find the same sort of stuff. Anything that produces smoke produces all sorts of random poisonous byproducts. The metals and minerals are present in trace amounts in pretty much anything that was at one point alive. The big organic molecules are made by incomplete combustion and various reactions where the activation energy is supplied by the burning and then the completed product wafts away in the smoke.

That doesn't make it any less bad for you to breathe in cigarette smoke, but it's not terribly much different than any other sort of smoldering leaves or wood or whatever. I guess the point is that tobacco smoke is not unique for what it contains as much as for the fact that people deliberately breathe it in, and that is because of the nicotine, and that's where the attention should be focused.

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