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TFLC-FAQ

Tobacco Free Lincoln County

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT TOBACCO USE

 

What is secondhand smoke?

Secondhand smoke is composed of sidestream smoke (the smoke released from the burning end of a cigarette) and exhaled mainstream smoke (the smoke exhaled by the smoker). Secondhand smoke contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemicals. When nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke, they inhale many of the same cancer-causing chemicals that smokers inhale.

What ingredients are found in cigarettes?

Nicotine is an addictive drug found naturally in tobacco. Other chemicals in tobacco plants may come from fertilizers or insecticides used in the growing process or from contaminants in air, soil, or water. Some chemicals are added when tobacco is cured; others are added in the manufacturing process. Hundreds of ingredients are used in manufacturing cigarettes to make them more acceptable to the consumer. Additives make cigarettes milder and easier to inhale, improve taste, prolong burning, and increase shelf life. Laboratory analyses have shown that tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Of these, at least 250 are toxic and more than 60 are known carcinogens (cancer causing).

I'm only a light smoker or social smoker. What are my risks of developing cancer?

Some people believe that smoking only in social situations or smoking only a few cigarettes a day is not harmful. Although health risks related to smoking increase with the amount smoked and the length of time a person smokes, there is no safe amount to smoke.

Is there a safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke?

There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke: even small amounts of secondhand smoke exposure can be harmful to people's health. A smoke-free environment is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.

Is it safer to use smokeless or chewing tobacco?

Smokeless tobacco products are not a safe replacement for smoking. These products have significant health risks. All tobacco products contain the highly addictive drug called nicotine. Smokeless tobacco products generally deliver more nicotine than cigarettes. The use of these products can lead to nicotine addiction and dependence. Youth who use smokeless tobacco also are more likely to become cigarette smokers. Smokeless tobacco contains more than 25 cancer-causing compounds, including arsenic and formaldehyde. People who use these products have an increased risk of developing cancers of the mouth and throat.

All questions and answers courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.