You probably know that cigarettes can kill you—in fact, smoking kills half of those who don’t quit1—but do you really have the full story? Do you know how many harmful chemicals are in cigarettes or how they get into the product?
FDA created these videos and interactive tools to lay the foundation for an important public health goal: we aim to publish a list of the levels of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals in tobacco, in a way that is easy for the public to understand.
As an important step toward that goal, we invite you to explore the chemicals in tobacco in three stages of cigarettes, from plant to product to puff, in the videos below.
The tobacco plant itself contains harmful chemicals right from the start, including highly addictive nicotine. In addition to nicotine, toxic chemicals like cadmium and lead are often found in the soil where tobacco plants grow, and fertilizers often contain nitrates.
These chemicals build up in the plant as it grows and get released when you light up. You inhale these chemicals when you smoke.
The bottom line: there is no such thing as safe tobacco.