What’s Dangerous About Cigarette Smoking? Test Your Knowledge

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Broken cigarette over white background

A recent national survey found that many Americans—both teens and adults—don’t know what makes cigarette smoking so dangerous to a person’s health. To learn some of the reasons, take the quiz below. Answers are listed after the questions.

Questions:

1.   Cigarette smoke contains:
              A.   Ammonia (used in many household cleaning products)
              B.   Arsenic (used in rat poison)
              C.   Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)
              D.   All of the above
              E.   None of the above

2.   True or false: In filtered cigarettes, the filters keep almost all harmful chemicals out of the smoke.

3.   True or false: The most hazardous chemicals in cigarette smoke are produced by additives that tobacco companies put into cigarettes.

4.   How many chemicals in cigarette smoke are known to cause cancer?
             A.   No more than 12
             B.   38
             C.   Approximately 50
             D.   At least 70

5.   True or false: Smokers today have a higher chance of developing lung cancer than smokers over 50 years ago.

6.    _________ is the ingredient that makes it possible to get addicted to using tobacco.

7.   Smoking causes more deaths every year than:
             A.   Alcohol use  
             B.   Illegal drug use
             C.   Car accidents
             D.   Guns

Answers:

  1.   D. Cigarette smoke contains all these harmful things, and many others.
      (Source: American Lung Association)
  2.   False. In fact, evidence suggests that ventilated filters may also have contributed to higher risks of lung cancer. They allow the cancer-causing chemicals in smoke to be inhaled more deeply; this draws the them deeper into a person’s lung tissue.
      (U.S. Surgeon  General)
  3.   False. Additives don’t appear to be the main source of harm from smoking. The most dangerous chemicals in tobacco are the ones burned when a cigarette is lit, like carbon monoxide. (Study, “Public understanding of cigarette smoke constituents: three US surveys”; NIDA)
  4.   D. At least 70 chemicals in cigarette smoke are known carcinogens.
      (U.S. Surgeon General)
  5.   True. Changes in the design and composition of cigarettes since the 1950s have   increased the risk of the most common type of lung cancer. (U.S. Surgeon General)
  6.   Nicotine makes tobacco addictive. You can develop an addiction not only by smoking tobacco, but also by inhaling it from a hookah, and chewing or dipping it. (NIDA)
  7.   Trick question! Smoking causes more deaths every year than all of these other causes combined. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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