Smoking Kills – Experiment, Medical Facts and Statistics

I. Medical Facts;
II. Amazing Experiment;
III. List of Chemicals and Additives;
IV. Smoking Deaths Worldwide;

I. The effects of smoking on human health are serious and in many cases, deadly. There are approximately 4000 chemicals in cigarettes, hundreds of which are toxic. The ingredients in cigarettes affect everything from the internal functioning of organs to the efficiency of the body’s immune system. The effects of cigarette smoking are destructive and widespread.

Smoking Effects on the Human Body:

– Toxic ingredients in cigarette smoke travel throughout the body, causing damage in several different ways.

– Nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds after smoke is inhaled. It has been found in every part of the body and in breast milk.

– Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in red blood cells, preventing affected cells from carrying a full load of oxygen.

– Cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) in tobacco smoke damage important genes that control the growth of cells, causing them to grow abnormally or to reproduce too rapidly.

– The carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene binds to cells in the airways and major organs of smokers.

– Smoking affects the function of the immune system and may increase the risk for respiratory and other infections.

– There are several likely ways that cigarette smoke does its damage. One is oxidative stress that mutates DNA, promotes atherosclerosis, and leads to chronic lung injury. Oxidative stress is thought to be the general mechanism behind the aging process, contributing to the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and COPD.

– The body produces antioxidants to help repair damaged cells. Smokers have lower levels of antioxidants in their blood than do nonsmokers.

– Smoking is associated with higher levels of chronic inflammation, another damaging process that may result in oxidative stress.

II. Amazing Experiment:

III. What do we really inhale when smoking?

When the chemicals in cigarettes are inhaled, they put our bodies into a state of physical stress by sending literally thousands of poisons, toxic metals and carcinogens coursing through our bloodstream with every puff we take. And those chemicals affect everything from blood pressure and pulse rate to the health of our organs and immune system.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the harmful chemicals in cigarettes and how they affect our health.

Chemicals in Cigarettes: Carcinogens

A carcinogen is defined as any substance that can cause or aggravate cancer. Approximately 60 of the chemicals in cigarettes are known to cause cancer.

Tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines (TSNAs): are known to be some of the most potent carcinogens present in smokeless tobacco, snuff and tobacco smoke.

Benzene: can be found in pesticides and gasoline. It is present in high levels in cigarette smoke and accounts for half of all human exposure to this hazardous chemical.

Pesticides: are used on our lawns and gardens, and inhaled into our lungs via cigarette smoke.

Formaldehyde: is a chemical used to preserve dead bodies, and is responsible for some of the nose, throat and eye irritation smokers experience when breathing in cigarette smoke.

Chemicals in Cigarettes: Toxic Metals

Toxic / heavy metals are metals and metal compounds that have the potential to harm our health when absorbed or inhaled. In very small amounts, some of these metals support life, but when taken in large amounts, can become toxic.

Arsenic: commonly used in rat poison, arsenic finds its way into cigarette smoke through some of the pesticides that are used in tobacco farming.

Cadmium: is a toxic heavy metal that is used in batteries. Smokers typically have twice as much cadmium in their bodies as nonsmokers.

Chemicals in Cigarettes: Radioactive Toxic Metals

There are a couple of toxic metals in cigarette smoke that carry an extra punch of danger for anyone breathing it in: they are radioactive.

Radioactive Cigarette Smoke Lead-210 (Pb-210) and polonium-210 (Po-210) are poisonous, radioactive heavy metals that research has shown to be present in cigarette smoke.

Chemicals in Cigarettes: Poisons

Poison is defined as any substance that, when introduced to a living organism, causes severe physical distress or death. Science has discovered approximately 200 poisonous gases in cigarette smoke.

Ammonia: compounds are commonly used in cleaning products and fertilizers. Ammonia is also used to boost the impact of nicotine in manufactured cigarettes.

Carbon monoxide: is present in car exhaust and is lethal in very large amounts. Cigarette smoke can contain high levels of carbon monoxide.

Hydrogen cyanide: was used to kill people in the gas chambers in Nazi Germany during World War II. It can be found in cigarette smoke.

Nicotine: is a poison used in pesticides and is the addictive element in cigarettes.

+ 599 Additives

The list of 599 additives approved by the US Government for use in the manufacture of cigarettes is something every smoker should see. Submitted by the five major American cigarette companies to the Dept. of Health and Human Services in April of 1994, this list of ingredients had long been kept a secret.

A Word About Secondhand Smoke

Also known as environmental tobacco smoke, secondhand smoke is a term used to describe cigarette smoke that comes from two sources: Smoke that is exhaled by the smoker (mainstream smoke) and smoke produced by a smouldering cigarette (sidestream smoke). 

Secondhand smoke is known to contain at least 250 toxic chemicals, including 50 cancer-causing chemicals. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. That means if you can smell cigarette smoke in the air, it could be harming your health.

Articles by Terry Martin, for

The Effects of Smoking on Human HealthChemicals in Cigarettes: What They Are and How They Harm UsWhat’s in a cigarette?

IV. Smoking Deaths Worldwide

Around 5.4 million deaths a year are caused by tobacco.

Smoking is set to kill 6.5 million people in 2015 and 8.3 million humans in 2030, with the biggest rise in low-and middle-income countries.

Every 6.5 seconds a current or former smoker dies, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

An estimated 1.3 billion people are smokers worldwide (WHO).

Over 443,000 Americans (over 18 percent of all deaths) die because of smoking each year. Secondhand smoke kills about 50,000 of them.

1.2 million people in China die because of smoking each year. That’s 2,000 people a day.

33 percent to 50 percent of all smokers are killed by their habit.

Smokers die on average 15 years sooner than nonsmokers.

Between 33 percent and 50 percent of all smokers will die an average of 15 years sooner than nonsmokers, the Tobacco Atlas from the World Lung Foundation and the American Cancer Society believes.

Around 100 million people died because of tobacco use in the 20th century. 10 years of life are robbed from smokers because they die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Smoking also steals 10 years of physical functioning in old age (making smokers act really old), according to Live Fast, Die Young, Leave a Good-Looking Corpse by David M. Burns, MD (Archives of Internal Medicine).

Smoking causes more death and disability than any single disease (World Health Organization).

A “death clock” now follows the tobacco use death toll since October 1999, just under 40 million and counting. It was set up by the World Health Organization in October 2008.

650,000 Europeans die each year from tobacco-related diseases, EU figures reveal.

Quitting smoking is being attributed to Victorian (Australia) males born in 2006 having a life expectancy of 80 years old. This puts them ahead of Japanese men’s average life expectancy of 79 years.

Highest US smoking death rate according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report:
* Kentucky
* West Virginia
* Nevada
* Mississippi
* Oklahoma
* Tennessee
* Arkansas
* Alabama
* Indiana
* Missouri

The lowest US death rates from smoking were Utah and Hawaii (CDC).

In India, about 900,000 Indians a year die from smoking-related diseases, that’s nearly one in 10 of all deaths in India. Half of Indian males use tobacco and it is becoming more popular with younger people.

In Russia, smoking kills between 400,000 and 500,000 Russians every year from smoking ailments.

In Japan, smoking is the leading cause of death and is responsible for 20% of all cancers. 50 percent of men and 14 percent of women smoke.

About 140,000 Germans die every year from tobacco-related illnesses. Nearly one in three German adults smokes regularly. Some studies estimate that 3,000-4,000 deaths per year can be attributed to passive smoking.

In the UK, 90,000 people die from smoking each year.

In Turkey, around 110,000 people each year die of smoking-related illnesses, according to official figures.

In France, there are about 66,000 smoking-related deaths each year and up to 5,800 deaths from passive smoking, inhaling the smoke of smokers. About 12 million people are smokers, 25 percent of the population.

In Spain, there are 50,000 smoking-related deaths annually. About 30 percent of Spaniards smoke.

In Canada, 37,000 people die from smoking every year, according to the Ministry of Health.

In Greece, where 45% of the population smokes, an estimated 20,000 people die of smoking-related diseases each year. 600 people die every year from passive smoking. The number of smokers in Greece has gone up 10 percent in 10 years).

In Australia, 15,000 to 19,000 Australians deaths each year are caused by smoking. Roughly 20% of the Australian population smokes. Government officials are trying to address the issue. More than 4,000 Victorians die from soming every year. More than 3,400 Queenslanders die because of smoking each year.

13,000 Scots are killed every year by tobacco where about 30% of the population smokes. Up to 2,000 people die of passive smoking annually. Smoking kills 6 times more Scots than accidents, murder, suicide, falls and poisoning combined (Edinburgh Evening News).

In Ireland, 6,000 people die each year from smoking-related diseases. Smoking-related illnesses kill 2,500 people in Northern Ireland each year.

More than two thirds of the world’s smokers live in just 10 countries (WHO):
1. China
2. India
3. Indonesia
4. Russia
5. US
6. Japan
7. Brazil
8. Bangladesh
9. Germany
10. Turkey

Ready to die in middle age? Keep smoking, according to researchers in Norway who tracked more than 50,000 people for a quarter century.

“Tobacco shortens the lifespan of smokers by 25 years with about 70% of people who begin smoking from their teens die by age 45”, Dr. Akwasi Osei, Chief Psychiatrist at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital said.

Quit smoking and watch the risk of dying in middle age quickly fall. Give yourself the chance to live longer.

41 percent of men who smoked a pack or more a day died in middle age, compared to 14 percent of those who never smoked.

26 percent of women who smoked heavily died in middle age, compared to 9 percent of those who never smoked.

44.5 million Americans, currently smoke or about 21 percent of American adults, according to estimates from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

168,000 Americans died of cancer due to tobacco use in 2007 (American Cancer Society).

Kentucky is #1. That is, the state with the highest smoking rate and the most smoking related deaths in the US.

Smoking-related deaths in NYC fell more than 11 percent from 8,722 to 7,744 during 2002 to 2006 (after the New York City smoking ban).

Up to 2.5 million people in China will die annually by 2025, if growing tobacco use in China continues at current trends the Beijing Daily Messenger reported, citing World Health Organization (WHO) estimates.

Tobacco use will kill 1 billion people in the 21st century if current smoking trends continue.

More: International Smoking Facts

V. Smoking: The Financial Cost

According to, you would save about $2,500 in six months and about  $5,100 in one year for quitting smoke (calculated at one pack/day). And if you persuade your life partner to quit smoking as well, you could save twice as much. That’s about $51,000 in five years. You could buy a new car or put a deposit on a new house, all while staying healthy and fresh. Do you think it’s worth it?

CLICK OR CALL TO QUIT SMOKING: 1-877-44U-QUIT (that’s: 1-877-448-7848 ) or search local help.