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Cigarettes are toxic

All cigarettes are toxic.

Even one cigarette quickly causes noticeable physical effects on a smoker's body. As well as nicotine and tar, tobacco smoke contains many chemicals, some of which are poisonous and others that cause cancer. These chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the lungs, and then into the brain. These chemicals are also absorbed when passive smoking, and by the unborn children of pregnant women.

Nicotine

Nicotine is the drug in tobacco, which causes addiction among smokers. It is a highly toxic chemical, and is often used in industrial pesticides. When a smoker inhales, the nicotine contained in the inhaled smoke reaches the brain via the bloodstream in a matter of seconds. It also quickly reaches muscle tissue. Nicotine has a number of direct effects on the body. It stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, increases the heart rate and blood pressure, and causes constriction of the small blood vessels under the skin.

Tar

This is the term used to describe the mixture that is formed from the tiny particles in cigarette smoke. This is inhaled by a smoker, and settles in the lungs. It is a sticky brown substance, the same thing that causes smokers' fingers to go brown, and teeth to stain yellow. Tar is made up a lots of chemicals - mainly nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide as well as numerous organic chemicals. Also found in tar are carcinogenic compounds - chemicals that may trigger cancer - such as nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Carbon monoxide (CO)

This poisonous gas reduces the amount of oxygen that is carried in the bloodstream of smokers. CO binds with the haemoglobin in the blood instead of oxygen, meaning that less oxygen is available to body organs and tissue. This lack of oxygen also affects muscle performance. Generally speaking, smokers of all ages are not as fit as their non-smoking counterparts because they become short of breath and exhausted more quickly.
 
For more information on the chemicals in cigarette smoke see:

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