Scientists Have Concluded How Much Harm Different Types of Smoking Actually Bring

The consequences of smoking are written on any pack of cigarettes. Many smokers who are not ready to quit this bad habit completely try to find healthier alternatives like e-cigarettes, vape, or hookahs. But are these alternatives really so harmless?

We at Bright Side decided to figure it out and would like to share the results with you.


What we are used to calling a cigarette is actually called NDS or ’nicotine delivery system’ in the tobacco industry and in the documents of World Health Organization. Nicotine, carbon monoxide, acetone, arsenic, methane,’s not a chemistry lesson but several components included in one cigarette. The researchers calculated that cigarette smoke contains 7,357 chemical compounds of different groups.

For example, tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide that, when ingested, forms a strong bond with hemoglobin. That’s the reason why a smoker has oxygen starvation. For people who smoke constantly, any physical exercise becomes a real test.

The average number of cigarettes smoked per person.

One should also remember that:

  • 2 packs of cigarettes contain a deadly dose of nicotine. It means that after smoking this amount of cigarettes in one sitting, one should call the ambulance.
  • A pack of cigarettes per day equals 500 X-ray exposures per year.
  • After inhaling, nicotine reaches the brain within 7 seconds and causes a spasm of blood vessels; hence, the disruption of tissue supply with oxygen.

“Light” cigarettes

“Light” cigarettes are called the least harmful, but it’s not true. Yes, they do contain fewer amounts of resins and nicotine, but those are not the main indicators of cigarette’s harmfulness. There are many others that are, unfortunately, not depicted on packs. In “light” cigarettes, there is a very high concentration of specific nitrosamines — the so-called carcinogens- which are not contained in “tar” but in the tobacco itself.

One group of carcinogens is controlled while the other remains unrecorded, and that’s what the manufacturers count on.

Moreover, the body of a smoker requires a specific dose of nicotine, and if the cigarette has less nicotine in it than a smoker is used to, then he will simply smoke again and buy more packs of cigarettes.


The main argument in favor of cigars is that they cannot be smoked in the street and that they add the image of a high-status man. Yes, cigars are smoked more rarely than cigarettes, but one cigar contains as much tobacco and harmful elements as one pack of regular cigarettes.

Therefore, you make a choice between having a bigger dose of poison less often or a smaller dose more frequently.

After numerous checks, it was determined that cigarette smoke is a leader of mutagenicity (causing changes in one’s DNA). Canadian toxicologists found that cigars were 2.42 times higher in mutagenicity than cigarettes.

Self-rolled cigarettes

Self-rollers are the same cigarettes with some tiny differences between them. The fact that you collect all the stuff for your cigarette yourself doesn’t decrease the harm caused by smoking. Carbon monoxide, nicotine, and ammonia — the list of harmful elements doesn’t differ from a regular cigarette.

Moreover, scientists from the University of Otago, New Zealand say that self-rollers can be even more harmful than regular cigarettes.

A comparative analysis of tobacco components in regular cigarettes and self-rolled cigarettes showed that cigarettes contain about 0.5% of different harmful additives while packed tobacco for self-rollers can contain up to 18% of them.

Smoking pipe

Smoking pipes are usually not inhaled deeply; smokers only let the smoke fill the mouth to relish the taste and exhale it. Nevertheless, nicotine — the element that causes addiction — is still absorbed by the body, but in fewer amounts.

It’s known that higher quality tobacco than that of regular cigarettes is mostly used in pipes. In addition, when smoking a pipe, there is no cigarette paper and glue, the combustion products of which are also harmful.

Still, the main toxic elements poisoning a human body are identical both in cigarettes and in pipes. All tobacco smokes contain carcinogens, and when smoldering pure tobacco inside a tobacco cell, the most harmful thing is inhaling tobacco smoke itself.


The main goal of electronic cigarettes was to help a smoker get rid of his bad habit by replacing bitter smoke with aromatic vapor. Heavy smokers choose a liquid containing nicotine and gradually decrease its dose when smoking.

At the same time, the blood and urine tests of e-cigarettes smokers showed that nitrosamines and toxic polymers have the same harmful effect on humans. Nicotine, which they contain, is an addictive and strong neurotoxin.


“Vaping is definitely less harmful than regular cigarettes smoking,” says Stanton Glantz, a researcher at the University of California. “At least because e-cigs create vapor instead of smoke and it makes a smoker inhale less nicotine than he normally could”.

But even if you choose a non-nicotine liquid, this does not mean that your body will benefit from it.

The main components of any vaping liquid are propylene glycol and glycerol.Scientists determined that when heated they decompose and toxic substances such as formaldehyde and acrolein are released. Formaldehyde has a negative effect on the nervous system, and acrolein irritates the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and eyes.

When heated, the vaping coil forms a fine-dispersed vapor. This vapor is easily inhaled and does not burn the respiratory tract. However, if heated too much, the particles of e-cigarettes liquid remain in the lungs. It is in this aspect that the main harm of vaping lies.


Hookah commercials assure us that it’s one of the least harmful ways of smoking. We are said that all harmful additives are filtered by water, that hookah tobacco smolders and doesn’t burn, and, therefore, neither harmful elements nor nicotine goes to the smoke.

Nevertheless, even after going through the water filter, the hookah smoke contains a big amount of toxins, heavy metals, and carcinogens.

Scientists from Asia and Africa found out that despite going through a cooling liquid, the hookah smoke doesn’t chill down to a safe temperature. Tobacco burning products, warming up to 752°F, simply do not have time to cool down when passing through a flask with water and a tube. By inhaling hot smoke streams, we burn micro-fibers on our larynx, paving the way for dust and harmful substances in the air to more easily enter our lungs.

American scientists went further and held biochemical studies of saliva and urine. It turned out that the blood composition of people with addictions to tobacco and hookahs is approximately the same. Both groups had a high level of carbon monoxide and nicotine derivatives in their test results. However, a significant difference was discovered among the people that used non-nicotine tobacco: their results were close to the norm.

Our research shows that things that are advertised as being healthier options for smoking are actually quite the opposite. While some things are good in moderate use, one shouldn’t overuse anything that seems harmless at first glance since one of the main treasures each person has is his health.

Do you think it’s possible to quit the world’s most widespread bad habit?

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