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Cigarettes contain a witch’s brew of ingredients

Jim Nelson

Mary and I have been doing some research in preparation for a presentation to a gaggle of high school kids. The main theme of the talk will be smoking and its interesting effects on the body. Here’s some of the stuff that the tobacco companies include for your enjoyment.

Nicotine: The most obvious and the most addictive. It is also used in rat poison and insect spray. It increases blood pressure and heart rate, kills small creatures and destroys the lungs of large ones.

Methoprene: A chemical used to eliminate fleas on your pets.

Benzopyrene: Found in coal tar and cigarette smoke, it is one of the most potent cancer-causing chemicals in the world.

Acetone: One of the active ingredients in nail polish remover.

Lead: Stunts your growth, makes you vomit and damages your brain.

Formaldehyde: Causes cancer, damages lungs, skin and digestive system. Used to preserve the dead.

Turpentine: Very toxic. It is used as a paint stripper.

Propylene glycol: Aids the delivery of nicotine to the brain.

Butane: One of the key ingredients of gasoline.

Cadmium: Used in batteries. Damages the liver, kidneys and brain. Stays in the body for years.

Ammonia: According to the tobacco companies, it adds flavor. According to scientists, it helps you to absorb more nicotine, hooking you just a bit more deeply.

Benzene: Cancer-causing, is used to make everything from pesticides to detergent to gasoline.

Carbon monoxide: The stuff that comes out of your car exhaust.

Hydrogen cyanide: Described as a colorless, extremely poisonous liquid.

Arsenic: Poisonous, cancer-causing, heavy metal.

DDT: Poisonous, so nasty that it is banned in the United States as a pesticide.

Plus nearly 4,000 other chemicals, 400 or so of them carcinogenic. If you want to get lung cancer or chronic bronchitis or emphysema, cigarettes are an excellent method.

Jim Nelson is a former Glenwood Springs resident who works with regional and national cardiovascular and lung organizations.


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