Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 19°C
7 little-known facts about smoking to make you think twice about lighting up
And hopefully will help you to quit, too.

IF YOU’RE A smoker you know by now that cigarettes aren’t good for you. You’ve been told it time and again and those warning labels on the boxes are hard to miss too.

But knowledge is power, and we’ve rounded up a few more facts about cigarettes that might help you knock the habit on its head – or, if not, at least you’ll be great at pub quizzes.

1. Cigarettes contain arsenic

fdecomite fdecomite

Not only that, there is formaldehyde, lead, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and 43 other known carcinogens in every cigarette.

Nicotine is highly addictive, considered almost as addictive as heroin, and reaches your brain in just six seconds.

2. Richard Nixon banned cigarette ads on TV and radio

kadavy kadavy

In 1965 the United States Congress passed the Federal Cigarette Labelling and Advertising Act which required all cigarette packages to carry a warning label.  Richard Nixon banned cigarette ads on television and radio when he signed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act in 1970. This act also required an update to the warning on cigarette packages to include the words:

Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health.

3. You have to be 20 years old to buy cigarettes in Japan

Twenty hober hober

While most countries around the world have a legal age of 18 for purchasing tobacco products, in Japan they’ve increased it to 20 years old.

4. Smokers, on average, lose 10 years of their life

somebox somebox

Every cigarette will take 11 minutes off your life - and for every person who dies from smoking, at least 30 more live with a severe smoking-related illness such as heart disease, stroke, lung disease, diabetes and emphysema.

5. Sugar makes up almost 20% of a cigarette

Uwe Hermann Uwe Hermann

Which is bad news for diabetics, who don’t realise this hidden source of sugar. It is used to sweeten the cigarettes and mask the smell of smoke.

The side effects of burning sugar are not known but it is thought that it is ‘the main cause of lung cancer‘.

6. The first European smoker was thought to be under the control of the Devil

220px-Rodrigo_de_Jerez Wikimedia Wikimedia

Rodrigo de Jerez was a Spanish sailor who was part of Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas in 1492. He’s credited with being the first European smoker, taught how to smoke by the Bahaman natives. When he returned to Europe his smoking so frightened his neighbours he was imprisoned by the Spanish Inquisition for seven years as ‘only the Devil could give a man the power to exhale smoke from his mouth’.

7. 20lbs of aubergine contains as much nicotine as a cigarette

GregWattTraveller GregWattTraveller

It’s true – the aubergine plant is related to tobacco and they both contain nicotinoid alkaloids, although the aubergine is actually classified as a berry.

Are you trying to quit smoking? Let us know in the comments below.

If you’re thinking of quitting and you need some help, head over to Nicorette for more information and support. Nicorette – do something incredibleNICORETTE® contains nicotine. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. Requires willpower.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.