5 Disturbing Facts You Didn't Know about Smoking

On Jan 11, 1964, the United States Surgeon General Luther Terry reported that cigarettes cause lung cancer. Here are 5 shocking things you may not know about tobacco and smoking...


Cigarettes Contain Thousands of Ingredients There are more than 4,000 chemical ingredients in cigarettes, which can convert to over 200 different compound chemicals when burned. Some of those compound ingredients include ammonia (often used for cleaning), arsenic (an ingredient in rat poison), and benzene, a chemical compound which is found in gasoline and rubber cement. Other ingredients found in cigarettes include formaldehyde, which is used for embalming, and naphthalene, which is an ingredient used in mothballs.

Television Ads for Cigarettes Were Banned A requirement for cigarette warning labels was signed into law by President Nixon in April 1970, and a ban was instituted on television and radio advertising at that time. The date for the advertising ban was extended by one day to January 1, 1971. This extension was granted to allow the cigarette companies to have one final day of television advertising for the televised football games held on New Year’s Day.


Smokers Die Many Years Earlier on Average The CDC estimates that adult male smokers lose an average of 13.2 years of life and female smokers lose 14.5 years of life because of smoking. About 41,000 deaths of people who have been exposed to second-hand smoke occur annually, while 480,000 smokers themselves die. Combined, around 1,300 people in the United States die each day from smoking or from exposure to cigarette smoke.

Asbestos Was Used as an Ingredient in One Brand Kent cigarettes with micronite filters, which were produced by Lorillard Tobacco, contained asbestos between 1952 and 1956. By the 1980s, hundreds of injury claims were filed by smokers and workers for the company. These plaintiffs had developed mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that arises many years or even decades after exposure to asbestos. In 2013, one former Kent smoker who developed the disease was awarded $3.5 million by a jury in Florida.

198,000 Cigarettes Are Consumed Every Second According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 37.8 million smokers in the United States in 2016. The 6.2 trillion cigarettes they consume each year works out to 198,186 cigarettes smoked per second. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.