Tobacco Scientific Facts
Many perceptions and myths exist concerning tobacco and smoking. Incorrect information can mislead current smokers or smokers who are experimenting to believe that it is possible to smoke in ways that are less harmful to their health.
Health Canada has done much research and analysis on this subject. We would like to share with you the scientific facts about tobacco and smoking. For example, we know that tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 different chemicals. At least 70 of these chemicals are known to cause, trigger, or promote cancer.
Below, you will find "quick facts" on a number of related tobacco topics.
Links to full factsheets are provided for further information.
Carcinogens in Tobacco Smoke
- Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, of which more than 70 are known to cause, initiate or promote cancer and are called "carcinogens".
- Exposure to tobacco smoke increases the risk of developing cancer.
- Health Canada recommends that Canadians stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke.
Smokeless Tobacco Products: A Chemical and Toxicity Analysis
- The amounts of the toxic chemicals found in smokeless tobacco products vary depending on how the product is manufactured or processed.
- Several forms of smokeless tobacco products are available in Canada.
- All smokeless tobacco products contain toxic chemicals that can cause cancer.
- The use of smokeless tobacco products can cause harmful health effects.
Mini Size Cigarettes: Smoke Emissions and Toxicity Analyses
- Mini size cigarettes may give smokers the impression of reduced yields of smoke because they are shorter than regular or king size cigarettes.
- The smoke from shorter, mini size cigarettes contains the same toxic chemicals, in similar concentrations as the smoke from other Canadian cigarettes.
- Smoking mini size cigarettes poses the same risk of harmful health effects as smoking other Canadian cigarettes.
- Some Canadian smokers have switched to smoking discount cigarettes rather than quitting smoking or reducing the number of cigarettes they smoke.
- The smoke from discount cigarettes contains the same chemicals, in similar concentrations, as the smoke from premium cigarettes.
- Smoking discount cigarettes poses the same risk of harmful health effects as smoking other Canadian cigarettes.
- At least 70 chemicals in tobacco smoke, including aromatic amines, are known to cause, initiate or promote cancer.
- The exposure to these chemicals is capable of triggering the conversion of normal cells into cancer cells (mutation).
- Aromatic amines present in tobacco smoke have a high potential to develop mutations that can cause cancer.
- Contraband cigarettes raise several questions regarding their health effects.
- Smoking contraband cigarettes poses the same risk of harmful health effects as smoking legal cigarettes.
- The smoke from contraband cigarettes contains the same chemicals as the smoke from legal cigarettes sold in Canada.
- Little cigars (also called "cigarillos") are a relatively new tobacco product. They are similar in appearance to a cigarette.
- Smoking little cigars poses the same risk of harmful health effects as smoking cigarettes.
- The origin and type of tobacco used in little cigars are different to that used in cigarettes sold in Canada.
- The smoke from little cigars contains the same chemicals as the smoke from cigarettes sold in Canada.
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