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What are harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke?

Tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemical compounds, many of which are harmful to the body. In particular, there are certain poisons including carbon monoxide and tar in tobacco smoke. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that can be fatal in large doses. It is also present in car exhaust fumes and harms your body by taking the place of oxygen in your blood. This causes your lungs, heart and other organs to be starved of the oxygen they need to function properly. Tar is a sticky brown material that coats your lungs. Tar can irritate your lungs and increase the formation of mucus, making it difficult to breathe. Other dangerous chemicals in tobacco smoke include hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, arsenic, cadmium and lead.

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About this article

Author: Dr Bow Tauro PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 06 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Votes: 578 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Smoking cessation


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