Tobacco Products

Chemicals in Every Tobacco Plant

Are "all-natural" cigarettes less harmful than ones with additives? How much do you know about the chemicals that occur naturally in the tobacco plant? Find out the hidden story about the tobacco growth stage below.

 

Chemicals in Every Tobacco Plant
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The tobacco plant itself contains harmful chemicals right from the start, including highly addictive nicotine.1,2 In addition to nicotine, toxic chemicals like cadmium and lead are often found in the soil where tobacco plants grow, and fertilizers often contain nitrates.1

These chemicals build up in the plant as it grows and get released when you light up. You inhale these chemicals when you smoke.

The bottom line: there is no such thing as safe tobacco.3

What are some of the chemicals found in the tobacco plant?

Some of the harmful chemicals found in tobacco plants include:

Nicotine Cadmium Lead

Quiz: How Much Do You Really Know About Tobacco?

Test your knowledge with these true/false questions. 
 

FALSE. All cigarettes—even those advertised as "natural," "organic," or "additive-free"—have chemicals that could cause serious harm to your health.4 Whether it's organic or not—there is no such thing as safe tobacco.3 Watch the video to learn more.
TRUE. Nicotine is highly addictive and can change how your brain works, causing you to crave more of it.2 It is also a toxin that evolved as the tobacco plant's natural defense against insects and animals.1 Watch the video above to learn more.
TRUE. Heavy metals, such as cadmium and lead, can be toxic to humans. Heavy metals from the soil and fertilizer are released when the tobacco is burned.1 Watch the video above to learn more.

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2010.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You (Consumer Booklet). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2010.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease. The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease (Executive Summary). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2010.
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). The Health Consequences of Smoking - 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2014.

 

 

 

Page Last Updated: 07/06/2017
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