Prevention and Wellness

Why is Tobacco Harmful?

It’s just a little cigarette, right?

Wrong! That little cigarette is filled with tobacco and chemicals that are extremely harmful to your body.

Tobacco contains nicotine, an addictive drug. A tobacco addiction is more difficult to break than a heroin addiction.

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.

Consider these other dangerous facts about tobacco:

  • When you inhale cigarette smoke, nicotine is carried deep into your lungs, is quickly absorbed in your blood stream, and travels to your heart, brain, liver, and spleen. All of these organs are susceptible to damage, including the risk of cancer, because of cigarette smoke
  • Tobacco smoke contains carbon dioxide, which snuffs oxygen out of blood cells. You need oxygen 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
  • Nicotine lowers body temperature
  • Nicotine constricts blood flow through the arteries and restricts blood circulation in your body
  • Nicotine increases cholesterol
  • Your body treats cigarette smoke as a foreign substance. Initially, your body will fight nicotine by giving off signals that it does not belong in the body―such as stomach ache, headache, dizziness and more. Eventually, your body builds a tolerance to nicotine. Soon, it takes more and more nicotine to make your body feel satisfied. You must then take in (smoke) more and more nicotine to feel the same sense of enjoyment you felt when you initially started using tobacco. Your brain is trying to retrain you to see nicotine as a normal substance

See a list of the chemical contents of cigarettes.

Source: Premier Health Community Wellness Affiliate - Premier Community Health

Content Updated: September 25, 2013

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