What’s In Your Cigarettes? There Are Over 7,000 Chemicals That You Don’t Know About

Most people know that cigarettes are dangerous for their health, but very few people understand just how dangerous, according to a recent study. The many deadly chemicals in cigarettes remain a mystery for more than 70 percent of cigarette smokers. This lack of knowledge is the reason that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the country.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill believe that this ignorance is due to the lack of public information on cigarettes. Recognizing the danger, they have recommended that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) broaden its messaging to include vital information about the ingredients in cigarettes and other tobacco products. According to Marcella Boyton, lead author of the study, this outspread of information is the only way cigarettes smokers have a fair choice on what they consume.

“The majority of the U.S. public wants easy access to information about chemicals in cigarettes and other tobacco products. Surprisingly, our results reveal that groups one might presume to be the least psychologically motivated to look for this information, young adults and smokers, were more likely to say that they had previously looked for this information.”

cigarette stack
According to Newsweek, there are over 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes. These chemicals are mostly carcinogens or chemicals that cause Cancer in living tissue. In a survey of 5,014 people, researchers inquired about which participants, smokers, and non-smokers, actually sought out additional information about the ingredients in cigarettes. Here’s what they learned.

Surveying adults, ages 18 and older, in predominately low-income areas, and among minority populations; the researchers discovered that most smokers had never attempted to research cigarettes. Those who had sought more information were young adults who made up 37.2 percent of the curious group, according to Science Daily. However, the survey showed that more than half of the participants wanted to know more about the chemicals in their cigarettes.

Realizing the widespread desire for details, Marcella Boyton recently explained how revealing the chemical make-up of cigarettes can improve national health.

“By making tobacco chemical information available to the public and tobacco industry practice more transparent, those seeking this information may be less likely to start smoking and more likely to quit because they will be better informed about the toxic chemicals present in tobacco products.”

cigarettes in tray
Though the FDA does have lists of the “toxic chemicals” in cigarettes, they have failed to make this information easy to obtain for the average cigarette smoker. The 2009 Smoking and Prevention Control Act allowed the FDA to add certain tobacco products like hookah and e-cigarettes to the list, but stating the dangers of these tobacco products is something they have yet to do.

For interested cigarette smokers and non-smokers alike, the truth about cigarettes is ugly. Some of the chemicals found in cigarettes include Acetaldehyde, Ammonia, Arsenic, Coumarin, Formaldehyde, Lead, and Cadmium, according to the American Lung Association. Many of the chemicals in cigarettes are known poisons, and toxins. When burned, the 600 plus ingredients and 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes multiply, resulting in about 7,000 active chemicals. Reportedly, some 69 of them are cancerous.

Chemists at the National Institutes of Health described cigarette smoke in 2010 stating “tobacco smoke is a complex and dynamic chemical mixture.” In their breakdown, the truth about what’s in cigarettes was revealed. The information that still remains unknown is what these chemicals really do to the body. The study conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill showed the same missing information.

The study, which is published in the journal BioMed Central had many limitations. This means that more research is required to truly unmask the ingredients and chemicals in cigarettes and begin to end cigarette smoking across the nation. It has been reported that about 80 percent of cigarette smokers have the desire to quit. A release of detailed information from the FDA and monitoring the public response to that information could lead to nation-wide intolerance for cigarettes.

[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]