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Anatomy of a cigarette.

Inhaled Smoke

Smokers inhale a gaseous cocktail that contains 50 different carcinogens, or cancer-causing compounds. Carcinogens attach themselves to red blood cells and circulate freely throughout the body. They are especially vicious on the lungs, heart, and reproductive system. A pregnant mother who smokes passes toxic chemicals into the lungs of her baby. Cigarette smoking causes 420,000 deaths per year in the U.S.

Carbon Monoxide

Cigarette smoke contains the same poisonous gas that comes out of the tailpipes of cars. The carbon monoxide attaches itself to the red blood cells that deliver oxygen to the body, replacing the oxygen the body needs and increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.


A person who smokes two packs of cigarettes day inhales more than a half pound of black, sticky tar per year. This goop is a combination of thousands of chemicals. It collects in the deepest parts of the lungs, coating them with sludge and damaging their natural cleansing mechanism. Tar i5 the main cause of cancer from smoking.


A drug as addictive as heroin, nicotine rides deep into the bloodstream on the back of tar particles. Within 20 seconds of taking the first puff, a smoker gets a blast of nicotine in his brain. Nicotine causes blood pressure to shoot up and blood vessels to narrow, making it harder for blood to flow.

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke comes both from the hp of a burning cigarette and through the mouth of an exhaling smoker. These fumes contain thousands of chemicals, including 43 different carcinogens. Ninety percent of Americans regularly inhale it. Fifty-thousand people die from it every year. Spending an hour in a car with a smoker is like smoking three cigarettes yourself.


Processed tobacco leaves contain more than 700 pesticides and preservatives, many of which are banned by the government from the food we eat. Some of these toxic chemicals are even banned from being dumped into landfills.


They're supposed to reduce the level of tar a smoker inhales. But tin fibers from the filter break off end are often inhaled into the lungs. Cigarette butts are also the number one trash item found on America's beaches.


Cigarettes are the leading cause of fire fatalities in the U.S., resulting in 25 percent of all deaths by residential fire. Many of these happen at night, when the smoker is sleepy or on alcohol or drugs and the cigarette ignites bedding material or furniture.
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Title Annotation:the eight hazardous parts of a lighted cigarette are noted. They are, inhaled smoke, carbon monoxide, nicotine, secondhand smoke, filters, fire, tobacco, and tar
Publication:Science World
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 17, 1997
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