Cigarette Ingredients

The Surprising Secret Ingredient in Cigarettes

In All Health Watch, Featured Article, Health Warning, Heart and Cardiovascular

Most of us assume that all of the dangers of smoking come from tobacco.

But there’s another ingredient that Big Tobacco adds to cigarettes. It makes them even more toxic and addictive.

A new study shows that more than 94% of smokers have no idea that this poisonous additive is in cigarettes.

Tobacco companies do all they can to keep it quiet.

Tobacco companies add sugar to cigarettes to cover the naturally bitter flavor of tobacco.1

Andrew Seidenberg is a public health doctoral student at the University of North Carolina. His research found that the vast majority of smokers have no idea that sugar is the “secret sauce” of cigarettes. “Knowledge is power and there is a clear gap in awareness,” he said.2

The “Trifecta of Death” in Cigarettes

By making tobacco more palatable,  added sugar makes it easier for smokers to inhale more of the harmful chemicals in the smoke.3

Dr. Noel Brewer is a public health researcher at the University of North Carolina. “Added sugar in cigarettes creates a trifecta of death,” he said. “It makes cigarettes more appealing, more addictive, and more lethal.

“Smokers should be able to know what they’re smoking and they don’t.”

How much sugar is in cigarettes? It varies by brand. But a 2018 study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that sugar is typically the number two ingredient by weight after tobacco.4

There’s no evidence that the sugar in cigarettes is fattening or raises blood sugar. But it has other toxic effects…

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says cigarette companies add sugar to make their products taste sweeter. This makes them more appealing to new smokers, especially children.5

The nonprofit group says that when sugar is burned it creates acetaldehyde. This chemical enhances nicotine’s effects in the body, making cigarettes more addictive.

The Best Way to Kick the Habit

One of the best things you can do for your health is to quit smoking. But this is easier said than done.

John P. Pierce is a professor emeritus in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He said there is one thing that works better than all others to quit smoking.

“Evidence is pointing to an important role of behavioral counseling,” said Professor Pierce.

Behavioral therapy is a way to “unlearn” habitual behaviors such as smoking. It involves discussions of thoughts and feelings when the patient practices the behavior. These discussions can be with professional counselors or even friends or spouses.

An English study by University of Oxford researchers found that behavioral counselling increases the chances of quitting by 40-60%.6

The study looked at several forms of counseling. They included individual in-person sessions, telephone counseling, group sessions, and written advice. All were found to be effective, although individual counseling worked best.

There are two easy ways to access behavioral counseling:7

1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) Calling this toll-free number will connect you directly to your state’s quit line. All states have trained coaches who provide phone counseling.

1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848) This National Cancer Institute program offers referrals to trained counselors.

If your New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking, get the professional help you need to take control of your health for good.

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