Welcome to the teachers section of "smoke’s no joke". We aim to arm you with all the information you need to tackle smoking issues in school.

What's in a cigarette? - The chemicals


Carbon monoxide

Most commonly recognised as car exhaust fumes, this poisonous gas stops the body getting the oxygen it needs. It also thickens the blood so the heart has to work harder to pump the blood around the body. Heavy smokers may have the ability to carry blood oxygen cut by as much as 15%.



A pesticide and very addictive chemical, which acts on the brain within seconds of inhaling cigarette smoke. Nicotine increases the heart rate and blood pressure, which means that the heart isn't getting enough oxygen.


The tar in cigarettes is a sticky brown mix of chemicals. It can cause cancer and damages the lungs (even the low-tar brands). Tar also leaves the yellow-brown stains on smokers' fingers and teeth.

These are some of the chemicals in a cigarette along with many other 'household names', including:

  • Benzene (petrol fumes)
  • Ammonia (cleaning agent)
  • Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)
  • Hydrogen cyanide (poison used gas chambers)
  • Acetone (nail varnish remover)
  • Radon (radioactive gas)
  • Arsenic (rat poison)

Around sixty of the chemicals in cigarettes have been shown to cause cancer. Many others are irritants.

Please refer to the Ash website for additional information

Created by Bespoke Software Developers StyleTech Solutions Limited for the people of Hull.