The Largest Portal Of Health And Quality Of Life.

Discover cigarette substances that are harmful to health

Discover cigarette substances that are harmful to health

Tobacco is known worldwide for its harm. But, after all, are we aware of all the harm that cigarettes can cause to our health? And that's why we talk to experts and find out what devastating effects each of the major cigarette substances can have on the body.

infographic tobacco

Everything you have in the cigarette is bad?

Yes, without any exception. According to the pulmonologist Alberto de Araújo, president of the smoking committee of the Brazilian Society of Pulmonology and Tisiology, there is no component in the cigarette that is not harmful to our health. "Some components we do not even know."

The doctor says that more than 5,000 substances have been identified in tobacco smoke, among them carcinogenic gases and particles, pesticides used during the planting of the tobacco leaf and that are kept in the process of dryness for the manufacture of cigarettes, among others. First of all, it must be understood that there is no safe limit to tobacco consumption. "Unlike alcohol, it can not be consumed in moderation," says Alberto.

Unlike alcohol, cigarette smoking can not be consumed in moderation

The most popular villain

When talking about cigarette smoking and its effects harmful, we soon think of nicotine. Although it is far from being the only villain present in tobacco, it is the main agent of addiction.

Experts say that nicotine is able to make in just 10 seconds all the way through our body: to be inhaled and absorbed by the lung, enter our bloodstream and trigger a brain impact, releasing substances that provide an immense sense of pleasure.

cigarette - Photo Getty Images

The addiction begins just when nicotine binds to receptors in our nervous system, triggering the release of various substances , such as dopamine, that give the sensation of pleasure, improve the memory, make the person more alert, take the appetite, among others. These symptoms are what the pulmonologist Maria Vera Castellano, a member of the Paulista Society of Pulmonology, calls positive reinforcement.

However, when the level of nicotine in the blood drops, that is about two hours after the first cigarette, person misses this positive reinforcement and has a withdrawal crisis. The symptoms related to abstinence, or negative reinforcement, are irritation, nervousness, stomach pain, insomnia and increased appetite.

Nicotine can do in just 10 seconds all the way through our body. This rapidity is only compared to cocaine.

"Dependence is due to the alternation between positive and negative reinforcement," says the pulmonologist. When the smoker experiences an abstinence crisis, he tries to smoke another cigarette to feel the positive reinforcement again.

Nicotine-related diseases are: increased heart rate, acute myocardial infarction, stroke, angina, elevated bad cholesterol (LDL), early menopause, gastritis, gastric ulcer, emphysema pulmonary, chronic bronchitis, peripheral arterial obstructive disease, thromboangiitis obliterans, progressive obstruction of the arteries, which can lead to amputation, as well as acute symptoms such as nasal irritations, throat and eyes, dizziness and headache. Getty Images

The dangers of tar

Tar is the name given to the set of substances present in tobacco and which are absorbed by the smoker when he lights the cigarette. It is responsible for the spots on the skin, on the teeth and fingers of the smoker, as well as depositing in the lungs, leaving it with a dark brown coloration. According to the pulmonologist Maria Vera Castellano, it is directly related to cancers in the lung, bladder, airways and bronchi.Among its compounds are found about 43 carcinogens, among them:


it is present in the composition of detergents and gasoline, in addition to being used as a pesticide. "By being inhaled, it is absorbed by the lungs, where it causes irreversible damage," says Alberto. The diseases related to benzene inhalation are pulmonary emphysema, asthma (even in children and adults who are victims of secondhand smoke) and liver cancer. "Exposure to benzene for more than 20 years can even lead to leukemia," adds Alberto.

Heavy metals are also found in cigarettes, which are extremely toxic to our body. Polonium:

is an element extremely harmful to our health. The radiation produced by this isotope, in normal situations, is blocked by the layers of our skin. However, when inhaled via smoke, it deposits in the airways, emitting radiation to the surrounding cells, contaminating them and causing lung tumors.

Nickel: material used in the production of stainless steel, coins and alkaline batteries . The pulmonologist Alberto de Araújo says that when inhaled, nickel deposits in the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, bones and teeth. "Inhalation causes changes in the stomach and increases the chances of respiratory infections and cancer," says the expert.

cigarette - Photo Getty Images Toxic Metals

In cigarettes it is also possible to find a series of heavy metals, which are extremely toxic to our body and are deposited mainly in the liver and kidneys. "The body takes 10 to 30 years to eliminate these substances," says Alberto. He further states that people with more than 20 years of addiction may not be able to reverse all of the aggressions and may cause complications in any of these organs. Among the heavy metals present in the cigarette, the main ones are:


it is used as a pesticide during tobacco planting and is not lost during the manufacture of the cigarette. Once inside the body, it causes damage to the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, bones and teeth where it is stored. Lead poisoning:

common in hair dyes, lead acetate mainly affects the lungs and kidneys. "When in large quantities, it can incapacitate or hamper ventilation of the lungs, causing shortness of breath, emphysema and lung cancer," says Maria Vera. passive smoking - Photo Getty Images

Gases that kill A smoke that the smoker releases into the atmosphere while swallowing the cigarette is also a poison, not only to him but also to the people around him who can inhale it. The main components of cigarette smoke and the risks related to them are:

Carbon monoxide:

very common pollutant in the atmosphere, indoors is the main gas component of tobacco smoke. Experts explain that carbon monoxide, when inhaled, competes with oxygen for binding to hemoglobin. That is: it takes the place of oxygen in the connection with our blood cells, making it difficult to transport oxygen throughout our body, thus causing difficulty in breathing. When it binds to our red blood cells, it also makes the blood thicker, causing our body to produce more red blood cells to supply the amount of carbon monoxide.

Menthol cigarettes are often a gateway to the addiction of several young people.

By leaving our blood denser, carbon monoxide can facilitate the formation of platelets, which will turn into thrombi, which can clog arteries and give rise to heart disease and stroke. "Even people who do not smoke, but who already have a cardiovascular problem, can suffer from respiratory distress, asthma and even a heart attack by inhaling cigarette smoke." "If you have too much carbon monoxide in your body may have dizziness, decreased level of consciousness and fainting, "says Maria Vera.

Cigarette Lung - Photo Getty Images


better known as an acetone enamel remover, ketones are a numbing and inflammable product.

Inhalation of ketones in small amounts irritates the throat and causes dizziness and headaches. However, if inhaled in large quantities it can cause severe intoxication and lead to death.

Turpentine: is a toxic substance obtained by extracting pine resins. Very well known as thinner and oil paint remover. By being inhaled it causes eye irritation, dizziness, fainting and nervous system damage, depending on the amount.

Young smokers - Photo Getty Images

Menthol cigarettes are more or less villains? The menthol cigarettes are those which have flavor, such as mint and clove. Very popular among teenagers for having a sweeter taste than regular cigarettes, mentholates are often the first cigarette and a gateway to addiction for a number of young people.

Research conducted at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in the United States United States, suggests that menthol cigarettes make the person more difficult to stop the addiction. And that's because of its refreshing taste, which masks the bitter taste of nicotine and tar.

The study also reveals that people who smoke menthol cigarettes tend to smoke fewer cigarettes a day, but bring deeper, to the same amount of harmful substances.

According to Anvisa (National Agency of Sanitary Surveillance), the number of brands of flavored cigarettes already represents 22% of the types for sale. A research done by the National Cancer Institute indicates that 45 % of smokers from 13 to 15 years of age consume such flavored cigarettes.

The president of the Tobacco Commission of the Brazilian Society of Pulmonology states that the additives present in the menthol cigarette do not harm the harmful effect of tobacco, but it is not yet possible consequences of the consumption of these additives. "We do not know how these products are added to tobacco, since it is confidential information, so it is difficult to say what the consequences of ingestion are," he says.

Incor campaigns to detect high cholesterol in the population

Incor campaigns to detect high cholesterol in the population

Combat Cholesterol, August 8, the Heart Institute of Hospital das Clínicas of FMUSP (Incor) conducts a campaign to detect high cholesterol in the population. Opened to the general public, it's main objective is to identify cases of family-related illness (family hypercholesterolemia) and provide guidance on prevention and care.


Removing ear wax increases risk of organ infections

Removing ear wax increases risk of organ infections

First let's talk about the importance of wax. Wax (or cerumen) is produced by glands of the skin of the outermost portion of the ear canal. The wax is formed by the secretion of glands, which is rich in fat and skin peeling, having several functions. Because it is oily, it prevents the skin from drying out from the ear canal and acts as a protective barrier, which filters out impurities and foreign bodies.