According to the American Lung Association, three out of four teenagers who use tobacco daily say that they use it because it is “hard to quit.” Making the decision to quit might be easier if they knew the anatomy of a cigarette. If you know someone, especially a teen who smokes, tell them that there are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, they create more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many are poisonous (American Lung Association). Here are just a few:

Chemical:                                                                                Also Found In:


Carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas                                  Car exhaust

Nicotine                                                                                 Pesticide

Ammonia                                                                               Floor Cleaner

Arsenic                                                                                    White Ant Poison

Butane                                                                                     Lighter Fuel

Hydrogen cyanide                                                                Poison used in gas chambers

Toluene                                                                                   Industrial solvent

DDT                                                                                         Insecticide

Acetone                                                                                 Paint stripper

Cadmium                                                                               Car batteries

Methanol                                                                              Rocket fuel

Formaldehyde                                                                      Preservative for dead bodies

Hydrazine                                                                              Rocket fuel and jet engines

Vinyl Chloride                                                                       PVC pipes

Nitric Acid                                                                              Fertilizers, explosives and dyes

Naphthalene                                                                          Moth balls

Ethanol                                                                                  Rubbing alcohol

Mercury                                                                                  Thermometers

Hexamine                                                                              Barbecue lighter fluid

Styrene                                                                                   House insulation

Phenol                                                                                     Bathroom cleaner


Friends and family can play an important role when supporting someone who wants to quit smoking.  According to the 2015 High School Youth Risk Behavior survey for high school students in Vermont, among students who smoked in the past 30 days and were under 18, 29% had someone else buy cigarettes, 39% borrowed or bummed cigarettes and 9% bought cigarettes at a store or gas station.   Instead of finding people to buy cigarettes for these teens, maybe they would like to find someone to play a supportive role in the quest to stop smoking.


Here are a few things to consider when choosing a supporter:


  • someone you feel close to such as a family member, teacher, pastor or friend
  • someone who is an ex-smoker if possible so they understand what you’re going through
  • someone nonjudgmental and sympathetic
  • someone who might have supported you at other times in your life
  • someone who is willing to be accessible
  • someone who has confidence in you and your ability to become smoke-free

When someone quits smoking it is one of the most important and positive lifestyle changes they can ever make. Helping a young smoker kick the habit just might save their life. After all, there are 7,000 really great reasons to stop and not one good reason to continue