Office of Alcoholism and
Substance Abuse Services


What's in Cigarette Smoke?

  • Acetone (nail polish remover) - Fragrant volatile liquid ketone, used as a solvent, for example, nail polish remover - found in cigarette smoke.
  • Ammonia (toilet cleaner) - Used as a flavoring, frees nicotine from tobacco turning it into a gas, found in dry cleaning fluids.
  • Benzene (petrol additive) - A colorless cyclic hydrocarbon obtained from coal and petroleum, used as a solvent in fuel and in chemical manufacture - and contained in cigarette smoke. It is a known carcinogen and is associated with leukemia.
  • Carbon Monoxide (car exhaust fumes) - An odorless, tasteless and poisonous gas, rapidly fatal in large amounts - it's the same gas that comes out of car exhausts and is the main gas in cigarette smoke, formed when the cigarette is lit.
  • Formaldehyde (embalming fluid) - A colorless liquid, highly poisonous, used to preserve dead bodies - also found in cigarette smoke. Known to cause cancer, respiratory, skin and gastrointestinal problems.
  • Nicotine (insecticide/addictive drug) - One of the most addictive substances known to man, a powerful and fast-acting medical and non-medical poison. This is the chemical which causes addiction.
  • Tar - Particulate matter drawn into lungs when you inhale on a lighted cigarette. Once inhaled, smoke condenses and about 70 percent of the tar in the smoke is deposited in the smoker's lungs.
  • and many more chemicals.