What’s In Cigarette Smoke?

A Recipe For Toxic Soup

One cigarette contains over 4,000 chemicals — 69 are known to cause cancer to humans and over 200 are known to be toxic to humans. Some examples are:

ACETIC ACID: found in hair dye and developer

ACETONE: Found in fingernail polish remover

AMMONIA: Found in many household cleaners used to clean floors and toilets

ARSENIC: Found in rat poison

BENZENE: Found in rubber cement

BUTANE: Found in lighter fluid

CADMIUM:  Found in batteries and artists’ oil paint

CARBON MONOXIDE: Found in car exhaust fumes

ETHANOL: Found in alcohol

FORMALDEYHDE: Found in embalming fluid

HEXAMINE: Found in barbecue lighter fluid

HYDRAZINE: Used in jet and rocket fuels

LEAD: Found in batteries

MERCURY: Found in the liquid that was used in older thermometers (not used anymore as it was too dangerous)

METHANE GAS: Found in manure or any other feces

METHANOL: Used in rocket fuel

NAPTHALENES: Used in explosives, moth balls, and paint pigments

NICOTINE: This addictive drug has also been used as an insecticide

PHENOL: Used in disinfectants and plastics

STYRENE: Found in insulation material

TAR: Found in road pavement and roofing materials

Additional Toxic Ingredients Found in Cigarettes and Cigarette Smoke

CARBON TETRACHLORIDE: Also found in dry cleaning fluid

DDT: Found in a pesticide so dangerous that it has been banned for use in the U.S.

HYDROGEN CYANIDE: Also used as poison in gas chambers

NITROSAMINES: Found in weed killers

POLONIUM: Found in radioactive substances; one pack of cigarettes equals the radiation dosage of 300 chest x-rays in one year

RADON: A gas known to cause lung cancer

TOLUENE: embalmer’s glue, industrial solvents


Adapted from website information from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Health Promotion, Education and Tobacco Use Prevention:


For more information please contact:

The DC Tobacco Free Coalition at: www.dctfc.org

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