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Tobacco products contain chemicals

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Gabriela Patterson
  • 375th Aerospace Medicine squadron
Do you know what you are smoking? You probably feel like you have a good idea but the reality is there are about 599 additives and 4,000 different chemicals in tobacco smoke. Of those 4,000 chemicals, at least 69 of them are known to cause cancer. While these additives are approved for food, they are not tested to see what happens when they are burned.

Most of the chemicals are not things that you would willingly ingest. Most people would not drink rocket fuel for breakfast or devour toilet cleaner (ammonia) for lunch, but most importantly they would not ingest poisons used on death row (hydrogen cyanide) as a side dish. Cigarettes contain more than just those chemicals; they also contain chemicals like acetone, which doubles as a rat poison and a nail polish remover, methane, which is most commonly referred to as sewer gas, and industrial strength solvents among many others.

If you are a smokeless tobacco user, you aren't quite off the hook so to speak when it comes to chemical additives. Smokeless tobacco contains at least 3,000 chemicals, including many that you wouldn't want in your body. Smokeless tobacco has a higher amount of nicotine than smoke tobacco. Holding one pinch of smokeless tobacco in your mouth for 30 minutes delivers as much nicotine as three to four cigarettes.

Some of the harmful chemicals that are in smokeless tobacco are:

· Polonium 210: a radioactive form of the element polonium

· Formaldehyde: a chemical found in the fluid used to preserve dead bodies

· Cadmium: a metallic element used in batteries

· Arsenic: a poisonous element used in insecticides.

Added to smokeless tobacco are additives to make it more addictive such as fiberglass and abrasives.

You run a big gamble with your health when you partake in using tobacco products. For more information on how to stop gambling with your health and quit tobacco use, contact the Health and Wellness center at 256-7139.