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Toxins and Carcinogens in Secondhand Smoke

About the Smoke...

Protect yourself from the dangers




A burning cigarette, cigar or pipe is a health risk to everyone in the same room.



Regular exposure to other people's tobacco smoke — secondhand smoke — threatens the health of nonsmokers.

 

Such smoke may cause or contribute to a number of health conditions from ear infections and asthma to many cancers, including breast cancer and lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema.

By avoiding the smoke, you can decrease your risk of becoming sick from it.

Tobacco smoke is more than just a disgusting smell and a filthy brown cloud.

Secondhand smoke, also known as passive smoke, tobacco smoke pollution, involuntary smoking, and environmental tobacco smoke, is a mixture of two types of smoke:

  • Sidestream smoke. This smoke wafts from the burning material.
  • Mainstream smoke. This is smoke the smoker exhales.

Both types of smoke generally contain the same harmful compounds — and a lot of them. More than 4,000 chemicals make up the haze. At least 60 of the chemicals in a puff of smoke are carcinogenic, meaning they may cause cancer.

Some of the components found in tobacco smoke that are known to cause cancer or are suspected to be carcinogenic include:

  • Formaldehyde-used to preserve dead specimens
  • Arsenic-used in rat poisons
  • Cadmium-used n batteries
  • Benzene-a nacotic that damages whihte blood cells. Used in insecticides, synthethic rubber, etc
  • Ethylene oxide-

Here are a few other toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke that might sound familiar, along with their effects:

  • Ammonia —a hazardous chemical. It's added to cigarettes to increase the addictiveness of the nicotine. It irritates your lungs
  • Carbon monoxide — a poisonous gas that hampers breathing by reducing oxygen in your blood
  • Methanol — used as a gasoline addative substitute. It's toxic when breathed or swallowed; can cause blindness.
  • Hydrogen cyanide — interferes with proper respiratory function

Secondhand smoke also contains nicotine — the highly addictive ingredient that makes smoking so difficult to stop —people also get hooked on the second-hand smoke.

Mainstream, sidestream

US Environmental Protection Agency has classed cigarette smoke in the first, most dangerous, category of carcinogens, along with asbestos and arsenic.  

The Agency classifies ETS as a "Group A carcinogen” - a category reserved only for the most dangerous cancer-causing agents in humans.

SHS chemicals include irritants and systemic toxicants, mutagens and carcinogens, and reproductive and developmental toxicants.

More than 60 compounds in tobacco smoke are known carcinogens.

The only term that the tobacco cartel refuses to use is "tobacco smoke pollution." 

   
Air quality is calculated determining the level of nicotine particles, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide in one cubic meter.
 
Cigarette smoke contains some 5,000 organic compounds, including chemicals known to cause cancers.
 
Air pollution drops as much as 97% when venues go smokefree.
 
The air in bars and casinos can have up to 50 times more cancer-causing particles than the air on rush-hour highways.
 
Smokers exhale high levels of a bacterial poison called endotoxins that can seriously affect the breathing of those around them...

including serious inflammatory reactions in the respiratory tract, bronchitis, and asthma.

 Every time a person breathes in second-hand smoke, he/she consumes over 100 harmful chemical agents - carcinogens and toxins.

Involuntary smoking involves exposure to the same numerous carcinogens and toxic substances that are present in mainstream tobacco smoke.

If a smoker can get an illness from smoking, the nonsmoker can get the same illness from the second-hand smoke.

Toxins in SHS | About the Smoke | A Chemist's View
Toxins in SHS Mini-Poster
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