Cigarettes are made from tobacco. The tobacco plant contains a drug called nicotine. Nicotine is a deadly poison – it can kill a person in less than an hour if even a small amount is injected into the blood stream. Tobacco smoke contains very tiny amounts of nicotine that aren't deadly, but are still very bad for your health.
Tobacco smoke also contains over 4,000 chemicals, many of which are known causes of cancer. Just a few of these chemicals are:
• Carbon Monoxide (found in car exhaust)
• Arsenic (rat poison)
• Ammonia (found in window cleaner)
• Acetone (found in nail polish remover)
• Hydrogen Cyanide (gas chamber poison)
• Napthalene (found in mothballs)
• Sulphur Compounds (found in matches)
• Volatile Alcohol
• Formaldehyde (used as embalming fluid)
• Butane (lighter fluid)
When you smoke, all of these chemicals mix together and form a sticky tar. The tar sticks to clothing, skin, and to the cilia (tiny hairs) that line the insides of your lungs. The cilia help to clean out dirt and germs from your lungs. If the cilia are covered in tar, they can't do their job properly, and germs, chemicals and dirt can stay in your lungs and cause diseases.