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Does tobacco smoke contain harmful chemicals?

Yes. Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Breathing even a little tobacco smoke can be harmful. Of the 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 250 are known to be harmful. The toxic chemicals found in smoke include hydrogen cyanide (used in chemical weapons), carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust), formaldehyde (used as an embalming fluid), ammonia (used in household cleaners), and toluene (found in paint thinners).

Of the 250 known harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke, more than 50 have been found to cause cancer. These chemicals include:

Arsenic (a heavy metal toxin) Benzene (a chemical found in gasoline) Beryllium (a toxic metal) Cadmium (a metal used in batteries) Chromium (a metallic element) Ethylene oxide (a chemical used to sterilize medical devices) Nickel (a metallic element) Polonium-210 (a chemical element that gives off radiation) Vinyl chloride (a toxic substance used in plastics manufacture)

This answer is based on source information from National Cancer Institute.

There are more than 4,800 different chemicals, including 69 known carcinogens, in tobacco smoke and tobacco related products. Even "natural" products, such as herbal cigarettes, give off smoke and tar which contain many of the same dangerous chemicals.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.