Why Is Tobacco Harmful?

  • Tobacco and the chemicals in tobacco products are harmful to your body. We know that tobacco addiction is more difficult to break than heroin addiction. Consider these facts:
  • A naturally occurring ingredient in tobacco, nicotine, causes addiction to nicotine and plays a part in building cholesterol
  • Nicotine is a drug
  • Tobacco smoke contains carbon dioxide, which snuffs oxygen out of blood cells. We all need enough oxygen in our systems for energy, movement, and exercise endurance
  • Tobacco use raises your heart rate and blood pressure levels
  • Chemical contents in tobacco smoke change some of the chemical operations in the brain
  • When you inhale cigarette smoke, nicotine is carried deep into the lungs, is quickly absorbed in the blood stream, and travels to the heart, brain, liver, and spleen. All of these organs are susceptible to damage, including the risk of cancer, because of cigarette smoke
  • Nicotine lowers body temperature
  • Nicotine constricts blood flow through the arteries and negatively impacts blood circulation in the body
  • The body treats cigarette smoke as a foreign substance. Initially, the body will fight nicotine by giving off signals that it does not belong in the body―such as stomachache, headache, dizziness, etc. Eventually the body builds a tolerance to nicotine, and the previous amounts of nicotine are not enough to bring the body a sense of enjoyment. Soon it takes more and more nicotine to make the body feel satisfied. Thus, the tobacco user needs to take in more and more nicotine to feel the same sense of enjoyment he/she felt when they initially started to use tobacco. In a sense, the brain is retraining to view nicotine as a normal substance

Cigarettes contain more than 400 chemicals. Nearly 200 are deadly, and more than 20 are known to cause cancer. When you puff on a cigarette, you take in more than 4,000 chemicals. The burning of tobacco causes combustion, which causes the chemicals to interact and create new, often more damaging ones.

Click here for a list of the chemical contents of cigarettes.