Leave The Pack Behind at the University of Toronto’s St. George Campus

Tobacco is an agricultural product from the leaves of plants in genus Nicotiana. Smoking is the most common use of tobacco. The leaves are collected, dried and packed into cigarettes. Before packing, the tobacco is often combined with other substances to enhance its addictive potency. Tobacco contains nicotine, the substance that is highly addictive. When inhaled with the cigarette smoke, it only takes six short seconds to reach your brain. In small doses, nicotine can act as a stimulant, increasing concentration and energy and improving the mood of the smoker.

However, if consumed in large doses, it�s a depressant, inhibiting the flow of signals between the nerve cells. In even larger doses, it’s a lethal poison, affecting the heart, the lungs, the blood vessels, and release of hormones.

Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds and 400 other toxins. These include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT. As you continue to smoke a cigarette, the amount of tar inhaled into your lungs increases, as the last puff contains more than twice as much tar as the first puff. Tar is a mixture of substances that together form a sticky dark mass in the lungs of a smoker, making them appear black.

Carbon monoxide, which is also present in cigarette smoke, binds to hemoglobin within the red blood cells, making it harder for them to transport the much needed oxygen throughout the body. It is responsible for the shortness of breath the smokers experience when performing a physical exercise or climbing a flight of stairs.

There is also strong scientific evidence that smoking is related to more than two dozen diseases and conditions. Fortunately, most of them start to reverse after an individual quits smoking. All smokers are at extra risk for heart diseases which can cause heart attacks, circulatory problems, a variety of cancers such as lung cancer, cancer of the mouth, throat and voice box, emphysema, infertility and many others. Smoking also causes bad breath and tooth decay.

Smoke produced by a cigarette lingers in the air, and may be inhaled by vulnerable individuals such as children, pregnant women, people with heart or breathing problems or even pets in form of second-hand smoke. It is very dangerous, and more than 1000 non-smoking Canadians die from second-hand smoke each year.

If you would like to learn more about tobacco’s uses and affects or the benefits of quitting, stop by one of our booths!

Leave The Pack Behind at the University of Toronto’s St. George Campus
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