Stop smoking: the substances contained in cigarettes

So much money, so many lives

Let’s continue the discussion about how to stop smoking (read How to stop smoking).

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

According to the World Health Order, cigarettes reap nearly 5 million lives a year (worst than a war). The friend who gives us the first cigarette makes a huge favor to the tobacco production companies, assuring them, in a disinterested and free way, an average income that goes from 70,000 to 230,000 euros.

No matter what our income is, we buy thousands of tickets to the death lottery without hesitation.

To do us all this damage we pay no attention to expenses, a smoker can burn from a beautiful car (a BMW, a Mercedes and for the most passionate up to a Ferrari) to a house. In the arc of our life, we can get to smoke more than a million cigarettes.

What do cigarettes contain?

Do we know what are we smoking?

Most smokers do not know the components, the risks and the effects of smoking those substances and the small part of those who are aware of it, continue to smoke (read Having discipline: do not contradict ourselves).

The burning of tobacco gives us something like 4000 toxic substances, let’s see a few of them:

  • Nicotine – Contained at 4% in tobacco leaves, it was initially used as an insecticide; nicotine is toxic, just swallow 60mg (or let them absorb by contact) to cause death in an adult; once profuse it is rapidly absorbed by the brain (10 seconds); it gives rise to addiction and generates growing dependence, which is why manufacturers concentrate it beyond the natural, to maximize profits (on our skin); the effects point to the central nervous system, we can feel slight tremors, becoming irritable and in excessive doses even “convulsions” (after the first stimulus, we move to a phase of light depression); the side effects of nicotine (if any were positive) are hypertension, tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, vasoconstriction and susceptibility to thromboembolic episodes
  • Carbon monoxide – It hinders the functioning of muscles, of the brain, causes cardiovascular disease and prevents the transport of oxygen through the red blood cells; carbon monoxide is also emitted from cars through the exhaust pipe and is at the origin of air pollution
  • Arsenic and cyanide derivatives – These are real poisons whose toxicity is proven by the use, for example, as a rat poison; in cigarettes, they are contained in a rather small dose (otherwise we would not be here to talk about it)
  • Acetone – Famous as a solvent for nail polish is part of the family of toxic substances resulting from smoking; highly flammable is also used to remove traces of glue, paint and tar related substances
  • Formaldehyde – Irritating gas often used in cleaning products (such as bactericide), in the processing of fabrics, paper, wood and dyes ; it springs from the oxidation that occurs when the cigarette is switched on; diluted in water it is known as formaldina and is used for embalming and preserving the organs of the animals without causing them to decompose
  • Tar – From the burning of tobacco we obtain tar, that black film that settles on our “useless” lungs, obstructing each alveolus, blackening the living cells and drastically increasing the onset of cancer; tar is used for asphalt roads
  • Naphthalene – It is one of the carcinogenic tars in cigarettes; naphthalene is derived from it and it has long been used as an anti-moth
  • Ammonia – Toxic gas with a very pronounced odor, allows nicotine to reach the brain faster; its aqueous solution is present in detergents for the bathroom
  • Chemical additives – We allude to acid silicic, carbonic, acetic, formic, benzoic, titanium dioxide, ash whitening products, combustion accelerators and others (divided into irritants, toxic and carcinogens)
  • Heavy metals – Smoking makes us finally come into contact with the sadly notorious heavy metals (mercury, lead, cobalt, chromium, nickel, polonium 210, etc.); in particular, nickel and polonium 210 are radioactive substances (smoking 30 cigarettes a day is equivalent to about 300 chest X-rays in a year)

How cigarette manufacturers attract us

How can such a disgusting thing attract us so much?

In addition to harmful substances, each manufacturer adds its specialties (honey, cocoa, etc.) or alters the doses of the mentioned substances to make the product more appealing to newbies:

  • Through fermentation and drying the tobacco tends to have a sweetish smell but the burnt sugar liberates acetaldehyde which, “casually”, increases the dependence on nicotine
  • Cocoa instead aims to diffuse theobromine favoring the expansion of the airways and thus facilitating the aspiration of nicotine

Reached the 3-5 daily cigarettes can start the dependency to smoke; this is not a real physiological need but a “push” that invites us to smoke.

The more we smoke, the stronger the push becomes, the more we are psychologically weak, the less we resist.

A little effort to stop smoking

Tobacco is not heroin, resisting is easy / possible but not automatic, we need to endure the nervousness for a couple of days and the desire for a couple of weeks. The truth is that those who smoke:

  • Have never fully exercised their willpower
  • Often face life itself with disinterest
  • Self-justify himself continuously

To stop smoking we must:

  • Learn to see the defeat in the eyes of smokers and in ours
  • Understand that 2if we cannot resist the temptations of surrender, we will never stop smoking
  • Consider that our endless justifications are all consequences of our weakness
  • Exercise the will, day by day, without any interruption (read Watch over ourselves: the self-commands)
  • Most of all, understand that we must stop smoking for ourselves, alone and for ourselves

In the next article of this series, we will continue our path to the end of smoking dependency.

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • What effect does it make you be aware that all these harmful substances are contained in cigarettes?

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