Cigarette Chemicals & The Effects of Smoking on Your Body

Nicotine gets you addicted to cigarettes, but it's not the most harmful ingredient in a cigarette. In fact, cigarette smoke contains over 7000 chemicals and at least 69 of them cause cancer. These cigarette ingredients also speed up the aging process.1

A couple riding bikes

Chemicals in Cigarettes

When you use NICORETTE® instead of smoking a cigarette, you save yourself from the harmful effects of the following ingredients1.

  • Acetone: a flammable solvent used in nail polish remover
  • Acetic acid: an ingredient in hair dye
  • Ammonia: found in household cleaner
  • Arsenic: a poison
  • Benzene: found in rubber cement
  • Butane: used in lighter fluid
  • Cadmium: active component in battery acid
  • Carbon monoxide: released in car exhaust fumes
  • Formaldehyde: the base of many embalming fluids
  • Hexamine: within barbecue lighter fluid
  • Lead: used in batteries
  • Naphthalene: in mothballs
  • Methanol: a main component in rocket fuel
  • Tar: a material for paving roads
  • Toluene: used to make paint

The effects of smoking chemicals on your body

The chemicals have the following side effects on your body in both the short and long term.

Lungs and Cells2

  • Tar is deposited in your lungs and contains chemicals called carcinogens, which encourage the development of cancer cells in your body.
  • Tar also damages your lungs by narrowing the small tubs (bronchioles) that absorb oxygen and the small hairs (cilia) that help protect your lungs from dirt and infections, making it harder for you to breath and fight infections.
  • You're exposed to chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde that have been linked to a range of different cancers, such as leukemia and kidney cancer.


  • Carbon monoxide takes the place of oxygen in your blood, forcing your heart to work much harder and impacts your lungs proper function. The lack of oxygen in your cells and tissues can lead to heart disease and stroke.


  • Smokers may have fewer collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, which can cause skin to harden and wrinkle.3
  • Your body is sapped of vitamin C, an antioxidant which plays a crucial role in the production of collagen - a natural protein vital for keeping skin healthy and supple.4
  • Your circulation suffers because oxygen isn't pumped around your blood vessels as effectively as in a non-smoker, giving you a dull complexion.3


  • The toxic chemicals in cigarette tobacco create sticky 'tar' residue all over your teeth, causing them to become yellow in a very short time.
  • You're at an increased risk of periodontitis - or gum disease, which causes infected gums, bad breath, and in severe cases may even cause your teeth to fall out.


  • Poor circulation in the bloodstream from cigarette chemicals results in dull hair and potentially hair loss.

The Short-Term Effects of Smoking

The short-term effects of smoking include7:

  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue and a decrease in energy
  • Reduction in the senses of taste and smell
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath

The Long-Term Effects of Smoking

The long-term effects of smoking include7:

  • Heart and blood vessel problems
  • Respiratory and lung problems, like asthma and coughing
  • Cancers, including lung cancer
  • Shortened life expectancy
  • Fertility and pregnancy problems
  • Menstrual issues
  • Erectile problems

It's never too late by quit smoking. By quitting, you get to enjoy all the health benefits of breaking free from cigarettes.