Do You Know Nutrition: List of reasons to quit smoking

Jan. 17, 2011 at midnight
Updated Jan. 17, 2011 at 7:18 p.m.

by Phylis Canion

I am really trying to quit smoking, but every time I try I just can't break the addiction. What is in cigarettes that is so addicting and causes so many "withdrawal" symptoms. Scare me with information so I will quit this year.

Once upon a time, long, long ago, cigarettes were actually just tobacco and paper. I remember as kids we gladly offered to "help" my grandfather roll his own cigarettes. We took the tobacco out of a little yellow drawstring cloth pouch, laid it carefully onto the cigarette paper, rolled the paper so carefully and licked the paper for closure. And yes, we also volunteered to really "help" him out and light it for him.

Then the ready roll came along. However, a problem developed: allowing the full "flavor" of the tar to come through left a bitter taste. Hence, the filter was born. It was designed to hold the tar out and the flavor flow through. The center of the filter, that looks like cotton, is actually a form of plastic called cellulose acetate that after discarded can take up to 18 months to decompose.

The lovely flavor was enhanced by using the following additives: Ammonia (household cleaner), arsenic (used in rat poison), benzene (used in making dyes), butane (used in lighter fluid), carbon monoxide (poisonous gas), cadmium (used in batteries), cyanide (lethal poison), DDT (a banned insecticide), ethyl ruroate (causes liver damage in animals), lead, formaldehyde, methoprene (insecticide), maltitol (a sweetener), naphthalene (used in moth balls), methyl isocyanate (killed more than 2,000 people in Bhopal, India, in 1984 after an accidental release), and polonium (cancer causing radioactive element).

The Department of Health and Human Services approved a list of 599 additives, including those listed above, for the manufacture of cigarettes. While this detailed list was approved as food additives, it was not tested if the additive was burned, which changes the complete structure of the additive and causes it to become toxic.

Carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, hydrogen cyanide and ammonia are all present in cigarette smoke. According to the FDA, Food and Drug Administration, they have issued a proposed rule that will include nine warnings about the dangers of cigarette smoking to be on all cigarette packaging and advertisements. The new warnings will be effective 15 months after the final ruling in June of this year.

The new list will begin with WARNING and include the following: Cigarettes are addictive; Tobacco smoke can harm your children; Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease; Cigarettes cause cancer; Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease; Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby; Smoking can kill you; Tobacco smoke can cause fatal lung disease in non-smokers; and Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risk to your health. New slogan: Cancer cures smoking.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, e-mail her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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