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- Cigarette Chemicals -
Smoking Facts about the Added Chemicals in Cigarettes

Cigarette chemicals added during manufacturing include polypropylene glycol and ammonium hydroxide.

The facts about smoking these added ingredients in cigarettes reveals that high temperatures change chemicals to something quite different and perhaps even harmful. Chemicals in cigarettes may be added during manufacturing and then become something quite different during smoking.

cigarette chemicals

One of the main dangers of cigarettes is that hundreds of ingredients and additives in the cigarette are subject to high temperatures.

Any additives that the cigarette manufacturers might put in there could be changed during the smoking process by the chemical reactions occurring in the glowing tip of the cigarette.

And don't forget it isn't just about the added ingredients in the tobacco but also the filter and the papers too.

Now that disclosure is required by law what better place to go than to the cigarette manufacturers to find out what is in their product?

The PhillipMorrisUSA website provides some interesting reading for all the added cigarette chemicals.

An explanation of the added cigarette chemicals (non tobacco additives) from the Phillip Morris USA website:

"Cigarette paper is the wrapping material surrounding the tobacco rod to form a cigarette rod. The cigarette paper is made of cellulose and may contain additives to provide whiteness, improve ash appearance and to help ensure burn uniformity."

Here is what I found about the cigarette chemicals and ingredients that are added during manufacturing.

Non-tobacco ingredients in cigarettes:

  • chemicals added to whiten the paper

  • inks used in the monograms

  • glues to hold the paper together and bind the filter plug to the rolled tobacco

  • filter materials

  • filter papers

All totalled I counted 135 (approx) ingredients in a cigarette that are not in the tobacco but in the wrapping paper, the glues, and the filter that hold the whole cigarette paper casing together.

Some of these ingredients were things like aluminum, talc, various dyes used in the printing that might be on the cigarette papers, titanium oxide, polyvinyl acetate, polyethylene glycol,cellulose acetate.

Any one of these chemicals could be altered by the high temperatures of the burning tobacco.

So much for the gift wrap now for the tobacco in the cigarette rod.

126 flavoring ingredients are listed that include:
  • high fructose corn syrup

  • rum

  • rose oil - it is interesting that rose oil is listed but further investigation shows that some of the common chemical compounds of rose oil are:

    citronellol, geraniol, nerol, linalool, phenyl ethyl alcohol, farnesol, stearoptene, limonene, p-cymene, camphene, neral, citronellyl acetate, geranyl acetate, neryl acetate, eugenol, methyl eugenol, rose oxide, benzaldehyde, benzyl alcohol, rhodinyl acetate, phenyl ethyl formate.
  • So in reality the number of cigarette chemicals is higher yet! Phenethyl alcohol is the water soluble part of rose oil that carries the distinctive aroma.

  • polypropylene glycol - used as a humectant to keep the tobacco from drying out too much and a flavoring.

  • peppermint oil - used in menthol cigarettes

  • licorice extract - the licorice root contains a compound that is much sweeter than sugar.

  • diammonium phosphate - listed as a flavor processing aid but further investigation shows it is also a fire retardant.

  • ammonium hydroxide - most commonly used as a household cleaning agent but listed as a flavor processing aid.

Some sources suggest that cigarette chemicals listed as flavor processing aids help to boost the effects of nicotine. This may or may not be true. Not being a chemist I cannot list it as one of the smoking facts but it is interesting that these last two ingredients are used in cigarettes as flavor processing aids but is there any other industry that uses these chemicals as flavoring?

My calculator adds this up to 261 added cigarette chemicals. Many of the amounts listed are minute but don't forget that the real impact of inhaling these substances once they are transformed into something you might not even recognize (or be able to pronounce) is that you repeat this many times per day over many years of smoking.

It is the cumulative effect of the exposure to the added ingredients in cigarettes that is the real danger.

There's more! Read about the carcinogenic chemicals in cigarette.

by Beverly OMalley

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