While there is an abundance of information on the harmful, potentially deadly effects of cigarette smoking, millions of people in every country on the planet continue to keep up with their toxic habit. Aside from being the number one preventable cause of death in the United States, cigarettes can cause a lengthy list of health issues including lung cancer, heart damage, throat cancer, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
According to Daily Mail, “Of the 7,000 constituents of cigarette smoke, 93 are particularly toxic.” Additionally, arsenic and formaldehyde, two of the most commonly known chemicals in cigarettes, have been linked to causing heart damage and throat cancer.
In a recent survey conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, researchers found that a vast majority of smokers were completely unaware of the extensive list of harmful toxins they had been inhaling on a daily basis, outside of nicotine.
Survey shows smokers unaware of toxins in cigarettes
The surveys were conducted via phone, and targeted almost 5,000 American adults living in regions deemed low income, high smoking areas. Of those surveyed, roughly 25 percent said they had smoked every day in the past month.
To conduct their study, researchers chose 24 chemicals, and divided them into six groups of four. Each participant was then asked to disclose the extent of their knowledge on the harmful effects of the chemicals in one of the four possible groups.
To the surprise of many, “Only eight per cent of respondents knew that at least three of the four chemicals they were asked about are present in cigarette smoke …. .”
Additionally, more than half of respondents told surveyors they would like to see information on the side of cigarette packs detailing the extensive list of harmful and potentially harmful toxins they contain.
Furthermore, only one in four respondents reported previously looking up information online about the harmfulness of smoking.
“It’s pretty surprising how relatively few people have heard of these [harmful effects] yet many were interested in hearing more about them,” said Dr. Kurt Robisl of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC, Chapel Hill.
Doctors look to make list of harmful toxins in cigarettes more readily available to the public
As a result, Dr. Reinskje Talhout of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment at the Center for Health Protection in the Netherlands, has developed fact sheets detailing the information many participants in the survey were unaware of. The hope is that having this information will help smokers make informed decisions, and eventually quit smoking entirely.
While the simplest, most effective way of relaying this information to the public would be by placing this list of chemicals and their subsequent health effects on the side of cigarette packets, the American government has yet to enforce such practices. Instead, they only require tobacco manufacturers to send lists detailing the amounts of harmful and potentially harmful components in their products to the FDA each year.
“One of the things I would like the FDA and others to think about is what they can put on the side of the cigarette pack, what kind of message can we put there to help create informed smokers,” Dr. Robisl told Reuters.
While many smokers remain uninformed about the exact ingredients they are inhaling, hopefully they will wake up one day and realize the toxic nature of one of the worst of their bad habits.
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