The general public’s view on cigarettes and smoking has slowly but surely changed – quite dramatically so – over the last few decades. There are, however, still much that remains unknown to the public…
1. Cigarettes are still considered to be the “most traded singular item” in the world. Sales trading between countries are apparently responsible for more than 1 TRILLION cigarettes being sold every year, cultivating an industry of around 400 BILLION U.S. Dollars.
2. In many countries, smoking has been banned in public places in an effort to stop smoking in public, minimising the dangers of second hand smoke to non-smokers. As a result. pubs, bars and many restaurants have experienced significant financial losses.
3. The Western world has much higher percentages of women smoking, with more than 20% of the female population in Northern America and most of Europe smoking. On the other hand, women in Africa and Asia are a lot less inclined to smoke, with smoking statistics hovering around 4% (while smoking men from the same countries represent between 30% and 44% of their respective populations.
4. The nicotine content found in several well known cigarette brands seems to be gradually increasing. Studies done in the U.K. and the U.S. have reportedly found that nicotine and tar content increased by up to 11 percent.
5. Cigarettes contain a number of interesting chemicals – including arsenic, hydrogen cyanide, lead, formaldehyde, and more than 40 other substances linked to cancer. In total, cigarettes contain more than 4,000 different chemical substances. Most of the problem, however, arises when it is burnt – when these chemicals form another 200+ new compounds, many of which have been connected to lung damage.
6. Doctors claim that the typical smoker stands to lose more than ten years of his or her life. That does, of course, not mean that the person is bound to die “young” – just sooner than would have been the case if a more healthy lifestyle had been followed. The claim, however, even though backed up by statistics, comes across as far-fetched and is often dismissed by smokers.
7. Cigarettes contain a good amount of sugar as well – apparently as much as 20%. While the full effect of burning sugar remains to be researched, most diabetics remain blissfully unaware of this fact.
8. In order to “add flavour” to cigarettes, manufacturers use Urea – one of the major chemicals found in urine…
9. Nicotine can, upon inhalation, reach the brain within as little as 10 seconds – hence the instantaneous “calming” effect. The sad part is, however, that, once consumed, nicotine is spread to every part of the body, and even in the milk of breastfeeding mothers.
10. “Light” versions of cigarette brands are not really “lighter”. The tobacco is infused with carbon dioxide, and then superheated until it expands (before it is put into the paper tube). As such, a “light” cigarette is not “lighter” – it just contains less substance. This explains why people smoking these simply draw harder on them, smoke more often, and eventually consume the same amount of nicotine than they would have done otherwise.
11. The World Health Organisation has reported that roughly one quarter of all cigarettes on sale in the world have been smuggled to their destinations.
12. Tobacco has been labelled as “the ultimate gateway drug”. On the one hand it can be purchased legally, and on the other hand it is often taken under peer pressure. One situation leads to the next…
13. Cigarette manufacturers apply special production techniques and add additional chemicals to ensure that the tobacco you smoke has “a lot more kick” than it does in its natural form.
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Author: Karien Venter