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(14) Quit Smoking

What are some of the important chemicals making up tar? How do these chemicals affect the brain and the body

More than 4,000 chemicals, including 200 poisons such as DDT, ammonia, arsenic, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide, are found in tobacco. Some of these chemicals are native to the plant while others have been added to improve the odor and dampen the harshness of smoking so that the overall smoking experience is improved.

Sugars and honey have been added to cigarettes to sweeten their taste, while ammonia speeds the absorption of nicotine into the bloodstream and ultimately to smokers’ brains.

Coca is sometimes added as a bronchodilator, which means it opens up the airways for faster delivery. Botanical additives are extracts derived from various plants and herbs used to enhance the flavor, but they also may have pharmacological effects. For example, some pharmacological effects include anesthetic, antibacterial, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties.

However, these beneficial properties are lost once the herbs are burned and inhaled.

Menthol is also added to cigarettes for taste. Menthol has numbing properties, which allows for a deeper inhalation of smoke.

Many tobacco additives can contribute to allergic reactions that may also alter the body’s cells, predisposing them to cancers and other ailments. The purpose of the additives is to improve the taste and smell of cigarettes in order to keep people smoking.

Terms:

Bronchodilator - A drug or chemical that relaxes the smooth muscle of the bronchi and bronchioles to open the airways, allowing more air to reach the lungs. Commonly prescribed in patients with airway diseases such as asthma and COPD.

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