All about smoking
A cigarette is the only consumer product which, when consumed as intended, kills half of its regular
consumers. This information sheet explains the physical and biological aspects of tobacco smoking.
In particular it focuses on: what’s in a cigarette, the role of addiction in smoking and the physical
effects of just one cigarette.
What’s in a cigarette?
"Thus a tobacco product is, in essence, a vehicle for
delivery of nicotine, designed to deliver the nicotine
in a generally acceptable and attractive form . . . Our
industry is then based upon design, manufacture and
sale of attractive dosage forms of nicotine."
1972 memo, "The nature of the tobacco business
and the crucial role of nicotine therein," by R.J.
Reynolds Tobacco Co. scientist Claude E. Teague
Tobacco is the main ingredient in cigarettes. A
manufactured cigarette is made up of two main
• Cured types - flue cured, light and dark air
cured, sun cured
• Reconstituted (stems, ribs etc) and expanded
tobacco. Both of these lead to cheaper
cigarettes by using less tobacco.
Cigarette manufacturers have spent many years
manipulating what goes into cigarettes by using
Additive types include
• Humectants - up to 5% of the weight of a
cigarette. These preserve moisture, as dry
tobacco has harsh taste. Glycerol and
propylene glycol are most commonly used.
• Flavour - added to counteract reductions in
flavour due to filters and the use of
reconstituted tobacco. Natural and synthetic
flavour enhancers are used to give woody,
spicy, minty, fruity, sweet and flowery
flavours. Flavours also mask the ‘harshness’
of smoking, and may help young smokers
begin and continue smoking.
Others, such as menthol, numb a smoker’s
throat. Ammonia raises smoke pH, enabling
more nicotine to be absorbed.
"The secret of Marlboro is ammonia."
Scientist in 1989 Brown & Williamson Tobacco report
The Australian government has requested
disclosure of ingredi