Cigarettes Smoking: Contributor to global preventable diseases

Smoking cigarettes has been linked to numerous health problems and is a leading cause of preventable diseases worldwide.

Cigarettes Smoking: Contributor to global preventable diseases

Cigarettes are a type of tobacco product that is commonly consumed through smoking. They consist of processed tobacco leaves wrapped in a thin paper tube, typically with a filter at one end. When lit, cigarettes produce smoke that is inhaled into the lungs.

Historically, cigarettes have been prevalent for many years and are one of the most widely used forms of tobacco consumption. They gained popularity in the early 20th century and have since become a global phenomenon, although their usage has declined in some countries due to increased awareness of the health risks associated with smoking.

Cigarettes contain various chemical compounds, including nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance. When tobacco is burned, it releases thousands of chemicals, many of which are toxic and carcinogenic. These harmful substances, such as tar, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde, can have detrimental effects on the body when inhaled or consumed over an extended period.

Smoking cigarettes has been linked to numerous health problems and is a leading cause of preventable diseases worldwide.

Long-term smoking can increase the risk of developing conditions such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, stroke, and various respiratory disorders. Additionally, secondhand smoke from cigarettes can also pose health risks to non-smokers who are exposed to it.

Many countries have implemented regulations and public health campaigns to discourage smoking and raise awareness of the associated health hazards. These measures include restrictions on advertising, increasing taxes on tobacco products, implementing smoke-free policies in public places, and offering cessation programs to help smokers quit.

It’s important to note that smoking is a highly addictive habit, and quitting can be challenging. If you or someone you know is a smoker and looking to quit, it’s recommended to seek support from healthcare professionals or dedicated smoking cessation programs that can provide guidance, resources, and strategies for quitting successfully.


Cigarette smoking has numerous detrimental effects on human health. Here are some of the major health risks associated with smoking:

Respiratory System:

Smoking damages the respiratory system, leading to chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and an increased risk of respiratory infections. It also reduces lung function and makes breathing more difficult.

Lung Cancer:

Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. The harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke, such as tar and carcinogens, can damage the DNA in lung cells, leading to the development of cancerous cells.

Cardiovascular System:

Smoking significantly increases the risk of heart disease, including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes. The chemicals in cigarettes can damage blood vessels, reduce blood flow, and increase the formation of blood clots.


Apart from lung cancer, smoking is linked to various other types of cancer, including cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, kidney, cervix, and stomach. Smoking also increases the risk of leukemia.

Reproductive System:

Smoking can have adverse effects on both the male and female reproductive systems. In women, it can cause fertility issues, complications during pregnancy (e.g., ectopic pregnancy, premature birth), and low birth weight in infants. In men, smoking can lead to reduced sperm count, decreased sperm motility, and erectile dysfunction.

Oral Health:

Smoking is associated with several oral health problems, including gum disease, tooth loss, bad breath, and oral cancer.

Respiratory and Other Infections:

Smokers are more susceptible to respiratory infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and influenza. They also have a higher risk of developing other infections, including periodontal (gum) disease and compromised wound healing.

Chronic Diseases:

Smoking increases the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It can also worsen the symptoms of asthma and increase the risk of developing diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and age-related macular degeneration.

Premature Ageing:

Smoking accelerates the ageing process, leading to the premature development of wrinkles, sagging skin, and yellowing of teeth and nails.

Secondhand Smoke:

Exposure to secondhand smoke is harmful to non-smokers and can increase their risk of developing similar health problems as active smokers, including lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory issues.

It’s important to note that quitting smoking can greatly reduce these health risks. The sooner a person quits, the greater the potential benefits to their health.

Chemical composition:

Cigarettes contain a complex mixture of chemical compounds, many of which are harmful to human health. While the exact composition may vary between different brands and types of cigarettes, here are some of the main components typically found in a cigarette:


The primary ingredient in cigarettes is tobacco, which comes from the leaves of the tobacco plant (Nicotiana tabacum). Tobacco contains nicotine, the addictive substance that makes smoking cigarettes habit-forming.


Nicotine is a highly addictive alkaloid found naturally in tobacco leaves. It acts as a stimulant and is responsible for the addictive properties of cigarettes.


Tar refers to the solid particles that are produced when tobacco is burned. It consists of numerous chemicals, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other carcinogenic compounds. Tar is responsible for the dark brown or black residue that accumulates on smokers’ lungs and other surfaces exposed to cigarette smoke.

Carbon monoxide (CO):

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas produced when tobacco is burned. It binds to haemoglobin in the blood, reducing its ability to transport oxygen, which can lead to oxygen deprivation in the body’s tissues.


Formaldehyde is a highly toxic and carcinogenic substance. It is produced when tobacco is burned and is also present in cigarette smoke. Formaldehyde can cause various adverse health effects.


Benzene is a known human carcinogen and is present in cigarette smoke. Prolonged exposure to benzene is associated with an increased risk of leukaemia and other cancers.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs):

PAHs are a group of chemicals that are formed when organic matter, such as tobacco, is burned. Many PAHs are carcinogenic and mutagenic.


Ammonia is often added to cigarettes to enhance nicotine absorption in the body. It increases the speed at which nicotine is delivered to the brain, making cigarettes more addictive.


Acetone is a volatile organic compound found in cigarette smoke. It is also present in nail polish remover and other household products. Acetone can irritate the respiratory system and have toxic effects.


Formaldehyde is a toxic gas that is released during the combustion of tobacco. It is a known carcinogen and can cause respiratory and other health problems.

It’s important to note that these are just a few examples, and cigarette smoke contains thousands of different chemical compounds, many of which are toxic and harmful to health. The combination and concentrations of these chemicals can vary depending on factors such as the type of tobacco, additives, and the way the cigarette is manufactured.

Types of cigarettes:

Cigarettes come in various types and styles, each with their own characteristics and features. Here are some common types of cigarettes:

Regular or Full Flavour Cigarettes:

These are the most common type of cigarettes, typically available in both filtered and non-filtered versions. They contain a blend of tobacco that provides a full-bodied and robust smoking experience.

Light Cigarettes:

Light cigarettes are designed to have reduced levels of tar, nicotine, and other harmful substances compared to regular cigarettes. They are often marketed as a healthier alternative, but it’s important to note that they are not without risks.

Menthol Cigarettes:

Menthol cigarettes have a minty flavour due to the addition of menthol, a substance derived from mint plants. Menthol provides a cooling sensation and can make smoking feel less harsh to some individuals.

Flavoured Cigarettes:

Flavoured cigarettes have gained popularity in recent years, especially among younger smokers. These cigarettes come in various flavours, such as cherry, vanilla, chocolate, and fruit. However, it’s worth noting that flavoured cigarettes have been banned in several countries due to concerns about their appeal to youth.

Clove Cigarettes:

Clove cigarettes, also known as kreteks, are a type of cigarette originating from Indonesia. They are made with a mixture of tobacco and cloves, which gives them a distinct aroma and flavor. Clove cigarettes often produce more smoke and have a higher tar content compared to regular cigarettes.


While not technically cigarettes, cigarillos are small cigars that resemble cigarettes in shape and size. They are typically made with tobacco wrapped in a tobacco leaf or a homogenised tobacco wrapper. Cigarillos come in various flavours and are often seen as a milder alternative to cigars.

It’s important to remember that smoking any type of cigarette, regardless of the variant, poses significant health risks. The best approach to protecting your health is to avoid smoking altogether or seek assistance in quitting if you’re a smoker.