What are carbon monoxide (CO) and the other toxins found in cigarette smoke?

Carbon monoxide is:

  • A colorless, odorless and tasteless gas.
  • Found in indoor and outdoor air from things like vehicle exhaust, gas stoves, and cigarette smoke.
  • Found in high levels in cigarette smoke. Carbon monoxide levels in cigarette smoke are higher (for a given volume) than car exhaust.3
  • Note that in addition to cigarettes, carbon monoxide is a result of all burning inhaled products (including cigars and joints). In contrast, inhaling product that do not burn (including e-cigarettes and vaporizers) does NOT add carbon monoxide to your breath.

There are thousands of other toxins contained in cigarette smoke. In 2012, the FDA established a list of 93 harmful and potentially harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, which cause one or more of the following:

  • Cancer
  • Respiratory illness
  • Heart and blood vessel illness
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Addiction

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