Luke from Geelong, Victoria, Australia asked:

Does cigarette smoke contain thousands of chemicals?

I want my Dad to quit smoking around my children, but he doesn't believe that cigarettes have thousands of chemicals. What kinds of chemicals are in a cigarette?

Our answer

Cigarette smoke is a complex mixture of over 4000 chemicals; we can’t be sure of the exact number. Many of these chemicals come from burning tobacco; the rest come from compounds in tobacco that persist after ignition, burning cigarette paper, agricultural chemicals left on the tobacco leaves, and chemicals added during the cigarette making process. Some of these chemicals are added to increase the taste and “addictive ability” of cigarettes. Tobacco products cause around 15,500 deaths a year in Australia. This is far more than any other consumer product. Cancer Council Australia has been advocating for greater regulation of tobacco products including plain packaging of tobacco products and more information for consumers about the contents of cigarettes.

This page was last updated on: June 20, 2012

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