What is really in tobacco, a cigarette and smoke?

The smoke from pure tobacco, directly from the tobacco plant, cannot be inhaled. The Indians, for example, could also not inhale their tobacco. A process of flue curing—roasting the tobacco—makes this possible. Only since this has been discovered has an epidemic of tobacco-related deaths occurred.

The tobacco industry adds thousands of substances to tobacco during processing. Those substances strengthen the addictiveness enormously and suppress the coughing that smoking causes. Thanks to millions of alveoli in the lungs, all kinds of substances from burned tobacco are absorbed directly through millions of pores. Those in turn bring the nicotine at a record pace to the brain in just 7 seconds.

There is a distinction between raw tobacco, the fabricated cigarette and the smoke that you eventually inhale. Additives like sugar and honey are not carcinogenic in a non-burning cigarette. These substances are added to increase the addictiveness. But once ignited, more than 60 carcinogenic substances are created. The cigarette has been called “deadly by design.” Thought has been given to every detail. The design is deliberately and knowingly made to be addictive. The tobacco industry accepts the consequences as part of the deal. They have known that and been doing that for 60 years.

What is in a cigarette?

Nicotine: the addictive substance. A nicotine-free cigarette does contain carcinogenic substances after burning, but it is not addictive. These cigarettes do not continue to be smoked, either. The tobacco industry thus does not benefit. Nicotine is found in pure tobacco, but it only becomes really addictive if it can first be inhaled, thus reaching the brain quickly, and in the gas form it reaches the brain even more quickly.

A beginning smoker is addicted within 4 weeks. You do not want to, but then you must keep smoking to compensate for the nicotine shortage that arises after half an hour to an hour. A nicotine shortage creates longings: cravings that feel like stress. In fact, nicotine elevates adrenaline, which results in physical stress. The blood pressure rises, and the heart rate increases (due to adrenaline excretion from the adrenal gland).

Because you alleviate the uncomfortable feeling so quickly—within 7 seconds after inhalation—with another cigarette, a smoker begins to associate this cigarette with everything: the Pavlov reflex. Cup of coffee? Cigarette. This explains the cravings that last for years and the relapses of a nicotine addict who has stopped smoking. If the nicotine did not reach your brain for half an hour, this would never happen. That is the essence of the ammonia-treated nicotine addiction: nothing else is as nice as it is with that cigarette. It hijacks, as it were, your rewards system. It is easy to remove the nicotine from tobacco. When someone says that he “likes” smoking, that is actually about the nicotine addiction.

When it rains, nicotine causes the “green leaf sickness” among children who work on tobacco plantations. Nicotine is absorbed then through the skin, and the children experience abdominal pain, nausea and headaches. All symptoms of nicotine poisoning.

Ammonia: ensures that the nicotine reaches the brain more quickly. Ammonia can also be added during the growth of the tobacco plant, and during the production process. It was discovered long ago that urinating over the raw tobacco resulted in a faster kick, since there are comparable substances in the urine. Ammonia is also used in explosives and decontaminants.

Flavorings: sweeteners, cocoa, menthol, chocolate, honey, sugars, anise, apple juice, and licorice concentrate are added. Children therefore start smoking more easily—the flavorings mask the foul taste—and they love caramelized (“burned”) sugar. They therefore become addicted more quickly.

These substances are only dangerous when they are burned. Upon the burning of sugars, aldehydes are released. Aldehydes are carcinogenic. The tobacco industry has tried to develop a concept for the aroma of a cigarette similar to that of the wine industry. This did not work, but people still believe that they smoke for the flavor and not for the addiction.

Bromhexine: a cough suppressant. When a child starts smoking, the normal reflex is to start coughing. Just look at what happens when you inhale smoke from a campfire or barbecue. These and other substances are deliberately added to get a child to inhale. Pure tobacco, unroasted, is completely inhalable.

Carbon monoxide: released from burning. This is not in the cigarette itself, but in the smoke that you inhale. It is a colorless and odorless gas that binds 200x more strongly than oxygen to the hemoglobin in the red blood cells. It thus displaces the oxygen in the blood. It periodically appears in the news when a family has been found unconscious due to a poorly ventilated gas furnace, with carbon monoxide poisoning as a result. Due to the combination of nicotine and carbon monoxide, the risk of heart attack and cerebral infarction increases significantly. Those close to smokers also more frequently have heart attacks due to second-hand smoke.

Benzopyrene:
carcinogenic substance.

Tar: is not an ingredient, but is created by the heating of plant-based components and additives, and it is carcinogenic. Tar contains more than 60 carcinogenic substances. Tar accumulates in the lungs and in the rest of the body, so that the toxic substances can affect the cells over a longer period, having been confirmed to cause cancer in more than 16 organs (lungs, bladder, head-and-neck area, pancreas, esophagus, liver, etc.) More than 20% of smokers also develop chronic bronchitis and emphysema, COPD, from tar.

In curtains and on the wallpaper in rooms where there is frequent smoking, you can see the brown deposits of tar. Tar is a dark black, syrupy or sticky, malleable substance. This is where the saying comes from: like my airways are paved with tar. The precipitate on the ground is also carcinogenic. We call that third-hand smoke. Crawling children and pets can suffer damage from it.

Cadmium: one of the heavy metals, extremely toxic. It is also in batteries. Cadmium accumulates in the kidneys and the bones, and can cause kidney problems and porous bones (osteoporosis). Cadmium can lead to lung cancer.

Formic acid: tanning or corrosive agent that is used in cleansers and disinfectants.

Acetonitrile: toxic substance, used in insecticides, among other things.

Methanol: a toxic kind of alcohol that is used for antifreeze and is added to spirits to make the toxic form, methylated spirit.

Phenol: a highly toxic compound that is poisonous when you inhale it.

Arsenic: a strongly carcinogenic toxin that causes DNA damage, infertility and irritation of the airways.

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