The Chemicals You Breathe in Every Time You Light Up

Everyone has the right to do what they want, even if their habits may kill them over time. Good habits free up the time for us to do more important tasks. Bad habits, on the other hand, enslave us in a web that’s hard to break free from. Smoking is one such habit that has no redeeming qualities. While we all know the dangers that smoking presents, there are no habit cops to arrest us whenever we get the urge to light up.

Despite the anti smoking campaigns that reveal the dangers of smoking, millions continue to light up despite their efforts to quit the habit. They certainly can’t be ostracized for their behavior since the habit has become so entrenched into their psyche that every attempt is almost guaranteed to fail. The same habit that affects the smoker also traps the over-eaters, the extravagant spenders and the drug addicts.

Whether the habit is psychological. Hereditary or due to other causes, cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, 12 of which can severely impact health and are carcinogenic. It helps to know what those chemicals are and how you can lessen your chances of falling victim to their effects. These 12 are:

  • Acetone, used as a paint thinner

  • Ammonia, a common household cleaner

  • Nicotine, the addictive part of the cigarette that’s often used as an insecticide

  • Tar, the chemical that never leaves your lungs intact

    • Arsenic, a known poison used to kill ants

    • Butane, the same stuff in your lighter to light that cigarette.

    • Cadmium, used in your car battery

    • Formaldehyde, used as a preservatives of bodies in the morgue

    • Methanol. It’s the anti freeze you put into your car

    • Carbon Monoxide. It takes longer to kill yourself via smoking than locking yourself in your garage with the car engine running.

    • Naphthalene is found in mothballs

    • Polonium210. It’s a radioactive substance.

    Clearly, this list should be enough to shock any smoker from reaching for that next smoke, but even if the pictures of a smoker’s black filled lungs don’t concern you, you should consider taking some steps to reduce your chances of an early death. Many cities have anti-smoking laws that force smokers to puff outdoors. This isn’t necessarily bad since breathing some fresh air will help offset the chemical effects in smoke.

    Consideration for the health of others is important as second hand smoke can be just as deadly as lighting up. Smoke filled bars have become rare, though they still exist. What you do not want is to project the wrong message to your children at home. There are no rules that demand you exit your home to smoke outdoors. As a parent you need to set a good precedent, so quitting the habit should be your first priority. The least you could do if you want to smoke at home is get a good ventilation system in place. After all, if you can afford several packs every day, you shouldn’t have a problem getting an efficient air purifier.

    No one is going to force you to quit, but you do have the choice to do what’s necessary to prolong your life and demonstrate the compassion of your presence to all who rely on you for guidance and a healthy example for the community.

    Bio: The author is a professional freelance writer who writes extensively in health, self-improvement, business and lifestyles. His work appears in online publications such as Helium, Suite 101 and Constant Content. If you are in need of content for your blog, website or newsletter you can contact the author directly or choose among a number of articles here:

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