Cigarettes and tobacco

What’s in a cigarette?

Cigarette smoke is a complex mixture of over 7000 chemicals. Many of these chemicals come from burning tobacco. The remainder come from burning cigarette paper, agricultural chemicals left on the tobacco leaves and chemicals added during the cigarette making process.

Once inhaled into the lungs, many of these chemicals pass through the lung walls into the blood stream, and are pumped around the body.

For more information see What’s in cigarettes .

Types of tobacco products

While manufactured cigarettes are the most popular form of tobacco, other tobacco products include cigars, pipe tobacco, bidis, kreteks (or clove cigarettes), roll-your-own tobacco, waterpipes and smokeless tobacco. These products also cause smoking related disease, although some risks may differ from cigarettes. Other substances that are smoked include herbal cigarettes and cannabis.

For more information see:
Herbal cigarettes, kreteks, bidis, roll-your-own and cannabis
Cigars and pipes
Health effects of waterpipe tobacco smoking
Smokeless tobacco

Weaker tasting cigarettes

Weaker tasting cigarettes, often labelled ‘smooth’ or ‘fine’ cigarettes, are not less dangerous than regular cigarettes. There is no evidence that smokers of smooth or fine cigarettes have less risk of smoking-caused diseases than smokers of other cigarettes.

Secondhand smoke

Secondhand smoke consists mainly of smoke released from the burning end of a cigarette, and also of smoke breathed out by the smoker. Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke. Breathing in secondhand smoke can also be referred to as passive smoking or involuntary smoking.

Secondhand smoke is diluted by being mixed with air, so people breathing it in inhale less smoke than active smokers. While this means active smoking is more dangerous to health than breathing in secondhand smoke, secondhand smoke still causes many diseases and symptoms of illness.

For more information see Secondhand smoke