Effect of tobacco smoking chemicals on human body

One of the major causes of the increased death rate in humans nowadays is tobacco smoking. It mainly causes mortality due to lung cancer in almost all age groups of people. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of toxic materials and that are causing diseases of vital human body organs. 

Toxic effects of tobacco smoke

Tobacco is full of dangerous components that pose serious impacts on human beings of all ages. It not only affect smokers but also harmful for nonsmokers. Nonsmokers are basically the people who are not actually smoking but are inhaling the smoke of another’s cigarettes. Even a very low amount of breathing smoke can pose serious and life-threatening effects on people. The smoke from tobacco contains about 4000 harmful components.

Involving dangerous carcinogens; cancer-causing chemicals. Tobacco smoke causes several forms of cancer. Including lung, eyes, pharynx, tracheas, kidneys. Liver. Intestine, ovaries, and mouth cancers.

Tobacco leaves including other substances and flavoring agents make a mixture of toxic compounds that are even not known. The main component is nicotine. And several kinds of hydrocarbon compounds.

Toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke

Out of many thousands of the chemicals present in tobacco, 70 are well known to be the cause of various types of cancers. Those chemicals which are a leading cause of any kind of cancer are known as carcinogens. Here is detail is given of some important chemicals and major causes of these components that are leading towards cancerous forms.

Cancer-Causing Chemicals

    1. Formaldehyde
    2. Benzene
    3. Polonium 210

Toxic Metals

  1. Chromium
  2. Arsenic
  3. Lead that cause lead poisoning

Poison Gases

  1. Carbon-monoxide
  2. Hydrogen cyanide
  3. Ammonia

Nicotine is the type of drug that is very harmful & affects the nervous system.

Radioactive materials in tobacco smoke

Cigarette  and cigars are made from the radioactive materials present in the leaves of tobacco. The radioactive materials are continuously produced from fertilizers of almost every type and these materials seep down into the soil along with fertilizers and thus tobacco plant gets it into its leaves from the soil. Thus, the amount of radioactive substances in tobacco directly depends on the type of soil where the tobacco plant is growing, and the nature of fertilizers used there.

When these radioactive materials are burn form of smoking it leads to lung cancer when it is inhaled actively or passively.

Disorders induced by tobacco smoking

Smoking mainly because of the disorders like:

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Organ failure
  • Lung cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Liver destruction
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Asthma

The societal cost of smoking

Diseases related to smoking are numerous in society in day to day. An estimated range of 100 million people are killed throughout the world in the 20th century and this range was increased to 1 billion deaths worldwide in the 21st century. In 2000, the estimated number was 4.83 million deaths due to adverse tobacco effects. The total global mortality resulted from smoking is 12% in adults of 30 years or more. Moreover, 2.43 million adults were in industrialized countries died of smoking.

There is a vast economic burden on society due to smoking. According to an estimate of WHO tobacco is reducing the national wealth to a large scale and it exceeds the annual expenditure to a normal limit. Tobacco has reduced the gross domestic product (GDP) at the rate of 3.6% on the other hand, this reduction is at 4.6 % in 2012 which is an issue of great concern and control.

There are three major elements involved behind the smoking costs besides the direct illness costs regarding health issues:

  1. Inactive smokers, the treatment of smoking-related diseases is more attributable to expenses than the passive or second-hand smokers.
  2. There is a continual reduction in the productivity of workplaces, loss of earnings, and absence of employees.
  3. Pre-mature death rates and loss of ability as assessed have adjusted life of several years.

Legislation and prevention of smoking

The first international framework convention in control of tobacco was negotiated by WHO in 2005 it played a significant role in the control of tobacco in almost all countries of the world. Among 176 nations, all European countries have signed it. The goal of WHO is to achieve a 40% lower in global smoking activities during 2010-2025. Its efforts for smoke control are still going at their peak.

Counseling for smoking cessation

It is the known common method for the control of smoking in almost every area worldwide. Therapy used in the form of grouped individuals is proved to be more helpful than the alone person.

Benefits of quitting smoking

The people who smoke daily for a long time are suffering greatly from pre- mortality conditions due to the emergence of diseases from smoking induction while those who are non-smokers, experience low mortality rates. X-smokers have more survival chances than continual smokers.

The reports for the evidence were made by UK doctors, they found that the death rate for smokers is 15 times more than nonsmokers. Thus, we conclude that as early a person stops smoking the more years he can live.

E.R.S guidelines for smoking cessation

  1. R.S. contributed by publishing some important guidelines for smoking control in patients having disorders of respiration in 2007.
  2. The people suffering from diseases of the respiratory system are in high demand for stopping smoking than other people who are not having such disease.
  3. The treatment provides to the patient should be managed properly regarding the nature of diseases and physiology of the patient’s body.

Future developments:

The prevention of smoking is better to be taken out earlier; it is prioritized, for making sure that all people get prevention interventions along with respiratory diseases for cessation it is important to take precautions for resolving those problems by proper counseling and minimizing the production of tobacco worldwide. E.R.S. guidelines are best to be taken into account for future developments in this aspect. [1]untitled (who.int) [2]https://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/sites/default/files/2020-08/m07_5.pdf [3]Tobacco Smoke and Toxicology – Clearing the Smoke – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov) [4]https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/29485/EHC211.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y [5]https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2010/consumer_booklet/pdfs/consumer.pdf

Reviewed by:
Dr. Muhammad Tahir Ph.D. (PU)
Post Doctorate

American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA


1untitled (who.int)
3Tobacco Smoke and Toxicology – Clearing the Smoke – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)

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