There are three harmful substances in cigarettes: tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine. Cigarette smokers who inhale the smoke, or breathe it in, can develop lung cancer. Other smokers who only take the smoke into their mouths can suffer from throat, tongue and larynx cancers. The substance which causes cancer is the tar in cigarettes.

Cigarette manufacturers have tried to develop low tar brands of cigarettes to reduce the dangers. Certain forms of filters in addition to the cigarette’s own filter can also help. However, nothing can completely eliminate , i.e., remove, the tar without changing the taste of the cigarette completely.

The effects of carbon monoxide are perhaps more serious because they can cause permanent damage – damage which lasts for a very long time – on others besides the smokers themselves. Increased carbon monoxide intake automatically means reduced oxygen intake, and consequently a lower oxygen content in the blood and the brain.

An oxygen-starved brain (a brain without enough oxygen) begins to die. It is true that cigarette smokers need cigarettes. Of course they do not actively choose to harm themselves and others, but they are forced to do so because of their dependence on the strong and fast-acting stimulant called nicotine . In other words, they can’t do without it.

People who smoke frequently claim that smoking makes them feel calm and soothes their nerves, but this is a physiological impossibility, not a real effect at all. Actually it appears to be the psychological consequence of satisfying a need because cigarettes, like coffee and tea, are arousing agents and they make people more nervous, not less.


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