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What Are Cigarettes Made Of? (Do You Really Want To Know?)

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We all know how bad smoking is for the health, but who knew that the average cigarette contains around 4000 chemicals? I thought I would find out about them and list them, in the hope that once smokers see this, it will shock them so much, that it will help them quit!

A cigarette is a made from dried and fermented tobacco tightly rolled in a bundle and covered in a paper case. They are also given many additives designed to make cigarettes taste nicer and keep smokers hooked.

First off, as everyone knows, cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug, which occurs naturally in the tobacco. Nicotine of itself is not all that harmful, which is why quitting-smoking aids like nicotine patches can be safely used. Here is the rundown of just some of the other additives (brace yourselves!!):

Tar: a mixture of solid chemicals, which when inhaled, form a sticky brown carcinogenic residue which collects in the airways and lungs

Arsenic: used in wood preservatives and also a deadly poison!

Benzene: an industrial solvent, refined from crude oil

Cadmium: a metal used in batteries

Formaldehyde:  used in paint manufacturing, in mortuaries (how appropriate!) and for preserving organic specimens

Polonium-210:  a highly radioactive element

Chromium: a metal used in the manufacture of dyes, paints and alloys

1,3-Butadiene:  used in rubber manufacturing

Acrolein:  formerly used as a chemical weapon

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons:  a dangerous group of chemicals which damage DNA

Nitrosamines – ditto

Hydrazine:  a very toxic chemical used mainly in rocket fuel!

Carbon monoxide: a colourless and dangerous gas, found in car engines, which has a very adverse effect on the lungs

Hydrogen cyanide: used as an industrial pesticide

Ammonia:  used to make fertilisers and explosives

Hydrogen cyanide:  a poisonous gas

.......And a few thousand more!

As if that list isn't enough to put you off, a lot of brands also contain pig's blood in the filters! Apparently the haemoglobin in the blood helps to trap a lot of the harmful substances before they are inhaled (only clearly, they don't trap enough of them, do they? Considering smoking causes so much illness and death!) They also contain other animal-derived products, like glycerine, so if you are a vegetarian or vegan, like me, that is another great reason to stop smoking!

Hope you got something out of reading this blog, and I appreciate your votes and comments.

 

Picture courtesy of www.biocaretherapy.com

Nimble Hands

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Finding something to do with your hands takes creativity and added confidence for the new non-smoker. At first it is probably the second hardest thing to adjust to not smoking. With some creativity and keen observation of your own habits, your fingers will find many wonderful things to do other than light up a cigarette.

One activity I realized that I missed was the rythmic ritual of finding my smokes (perhaps by patting my shirt pocket or rummaging through my pack) and digging out a tar, a lighter or matches...packing the tobacco and relaxing with the first drag.

You could just relpace the cigarette box with a box of mints and miss out on seeing your progress on paper.  Consider keeping a small note pad with a pen handy to log your thoughts and progress.  if you're really hard up for handling something like a smoke- you could fill an empty package with small pencils, like the ones used at golf courses. Then when the urge hits you to light up, enjoy the routine of patting your pocket for the pad of papper and pen and jot your victory down in your journal.

Reward yourself with three deep cleansing breathes and maybe that fresh mint to savor.

 

What You Lose and What You Gain?

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Quitting is something that I don't usually suggest unless it is a harmful habit like smoking. With no offence to the one who smoke, I admit that I also find it to be a disgusting habit. You may not notice it, but you stink all the time if you smoke! (more…)

The Reluctant Smoker

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I used to really hate smoking when I was very young, then I became a smoker myself, then I quit, now I hate it again! Full circle! I come from a family where we almost all used to smoke, and have now all given up and been smoke-free for years. I remember I used to complain about my Mum and my brothers smoking, then I took up the deadly habit myself! I think it was a question of “If you can't beat them, join them.” Fortunately that is not the case now, as now no one in my family has smoked for quite a few years.

I didn’t take up the habit until I was around 20 years old, and the only reason I did really was because of peer pressure: I was working at McDonald’s at the time and almost all the staff smoked (that was in the Dark Ages, when people could still smoke indoors at work!). Consequently the staff room would usually be thick with fug at break-times, the sort of atmosphere you could almost cut with a knife! That seems unbelievable now. It seemed less unpleasant to be a smoker myself than to be the only non-smoker in the room, so I took it up. I carried on for a while, but always meant to give up for good. I think I continued because I found, as most smokers do, that a cigarette seems to help in times of stress (I think it is more the oral solace though, the sucking action! Nicotine is actually a stimulant, so should make you more stressed).  I used to find the times I enjoyed a cigarette the most were with a drink or right after a meal, those were the hardest times to go without one.

Then I met a man who was a very heavy smoker and lived with him for several years (I have written about this in my previous blog). So I kept trying to quit but having a partner who was a constant smoker made it very hard. One quitting strategy I had was trying to restrict myself to just having a cigarette with a drink – and not having more than about 20 drinks a day! (Joke!)

Then when I was forty I had a serious accident: I broke both my legs in a car crash and was in hospital for 3 months. I couldn’t smoke there, and didn’t want to in any case, so I was able to quit that way, by simply not having a cigarette for several months. I admit, I did have the occasional cigarette on occasion when I got out of hospital, but didn’t enjoy them very much at all – the desire had gone. I haven’t smoked since then, and I have reached the point where I know I never will again now. That was around 6 years ago, so I think I am now safe from temptation! There is absolutely nothing to gain from this disgusting, killer habit, and everything to gain from giving up. I know that going through the initial withdrawal can be hard, but once you are through that it is easy, because you usually find you hate cigarettes after that!

Hope you got something out of reading this blog, and I appreciate your votes and comments.

(The photo shows me with my Mum)

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