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There are various chemicals in cigarettes. However, the two ingredients in cigarettes that most people are familiar with are nicotine and tar. The question is, between nicotine and tar, which is more dangerous?
Cigarette combustion produces about 7000 chemicals in it. There are at least 250 substances in cigarettes that are harmful, and 69 types of which are known to be carcinogenic, meaning they can cause cancer. Among the many chemicals in cigarettes, nicotine and tar are the most commonly known.
Is Nicotine or Tar More Dangerous?
Before determining which substance is more dangerous, you need to first know what nicotine and tar are. Here is the explanation:
Nicotine is a chemical compound that is naturally present in various plants. As with caffeine, nicotine is a mild stimulant and addictive so it can cause dependence effects. Due to its addictive nature, it is difficult for smokers to quit smoking.
When it enters the body, nicotine can stimulate the brain to release the hormone dopamine which makes you feel happier and calmer for a while.
The source of the highest concentration of nicotine is found in tobacco plants. But it turns out that nicotine is not only found in tobacco, other plants from the Solanaceae family, such as potatoes, eggplant, or tomatoes, also contain nicotine.
Although it is addictive, nicotine is not the main cause of disease due to smoking. A study conducted by the UK Royal College of Physicians, a medical institution in the UK, proves that the risk of disease due to smoking is not caused by nicotine, but other harmful ingredients of cigarette smoke caused by burning.
However, nicotine is not intended for consumption by children under the age of 18 or pregnant women. Nicotine exposure in children is known to interfere with brain development and increase the risk of impulsive behavior and mood disorders.
Meanwhile, exposure to nicotine in pregnant women is known to inhibit fetal growth and development, and increase the risk of premature birth and low birth weight in babies.
Different from nicotine which is naturally found in tobacco, tar is a chemical substance and solid particles (solid carbon) that are only produced when cigarettes are burned. Tar is a substance that has carcinogenic properties or can trigger the growth of cancer cells in the body.
Tar can also accumulate on the teeth and cause the teeth to become yellowish or brown in color. These chemicals can stick to the outermost layer of the teeth (email), making the teeth appear yellower. Teeth can also look yellowed and damaged, if not cared for properly and correctly.
When inhaled, tar will settle in the lungs. In the long term, tar deposits can cause various diseases in the lungs, such as emphysema, bronchitis, COPD, and lung cancer.
Not only bad for the lungs, tar can enter the bloodstream and interfere with the he alth of other body organs. He alth problems that can occur due to tar exposure include gum disease, impaired fertility or infertility, diabetes, oral cancer, and heart disease.
Ways to Prevent the Dangers of Nicotine and Tar
From the explanation above, it can be concluded that nicotine and tar are two very different substances. Nicotine causes dependence and generally makes it difficult for smokers to quit smoking, while tar is a dangerous substance that has the risk of triggering disease in smokers.
As a result, harmful substances in cigarettes, especially tar, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide, will continue to enter the smoker's body until eventually causing various he alth problems as described above.
Therefore, to prevent the various dangers of smoking, the best thing that can be done is of course to stop smoking.
Quitting smoking is not easy, especially for people who have smoked for years or are addicted to nicotine. However, this is not something impossible.
First of all, you need to realize that quitting smoking will bring many benefits, especially for the quality of life for you and those around you. Remove all cigarette-related objects from your reach, such as ashtrays or lighters.
When the urge to smoke arises, try to hold it in and keep yourself busy with other activities, such as exercising or doing a hobby.
In order to maintain your own he alth and protect your family and those around you from the dangers of smoking, let's make a commitment to quit smoking right now.
However, if you have tried various methods but have difficulty quitting or still want to consume nicotine, you can consider using other alternative tobacco products with a very low risk of exposure to harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes.
The alternatives include chewing tobacco, nicotine patches, e-cigarettes, and heated tobacco.
Because the he alth risks from smoking are mainly caused by burning cigarettes which causes tar production. If the product containing nicotine is not burned, tar and smoke will not be formed, so as to improve the quality of life of smokers.
This has been proven by years of scientific research by independent he alth institutions and governments in various countries, such as the UK, New Zealand, and the United States.
If every effort has been made but you still find it difficult to quit smoking, try to find appropriate and reliable information regarding other effective ways to quit smoking. If necessary, consult a doctor for appropriate advice and treatment, such as nicotine replacement therapy.