Toxic Emissions Statements

People are exposed to these chemicals every time a tobacco product is burned, either directly through smoking or by inhaling second-hand smoke.

Cancer causing chemicals

Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, including more than 70 known carcinogens (chemicals that can cause mutations in cells of the body and cause cancer).Footnote 1,Footnote 2 Many of these same chemicals are present in second-hand smoke.Footnote 3 Repeated exposure to carcinogens increases the risk of developing cancer and other diseases.Footnote 1,Footnote 4

For more information, visit our fact sheet on the toxic emissions in tobacco smoke.


Benzene is one of the many chemicals present in tobacco smoke.Footnote 5,Footnote 6 Benzene is toxic and a known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) in humans.Footnote 7 It is estimated benzene in cigarette smoke accounts for up to 58% of smoking-induced acute myeloid leukemia deaths.Footnote 8

Fine particles

Tobacco smoke is a major source of indoor air pollution. It contains a complex mixture of chemicals in the form of gases and particles.Footnote 2 Tobacco smoke particles are very small and can enter deep into the lungs. These fine particles contain many carcinogenic chemicals. When inhaled, these fine particles can enter deep into the respiratory system, increasing the risk of severe health effects including worsening of asthma symptoms, decreased lung function, infection and inflammation of the lungs, and the increased risk of mortality from lung cancer.Footnote 9,Footnote 10

Hydrogen cyanide

Hydrogen cyanide is one of the many chemicals in tobacco smoke.Footnote 6 Hydrogen cyanide interferes with the body's use of oxygen. Long term exposure to hydrogen cyanide may cause weakness, tiredness, thyroid problems, and an increased risk of miscarriage.Footnote 11 Hydrogen cyanide also damages the natural cleaning system of the lungs, allowing foreign particles and harmful chemicals to build up in the respiratory tract.Footnote 12

Page details

Date modified: