Smoking Products

The tobacco industry offers numerous options for smokers and several targeted products for younger users. Cigarettes, both unflavoured and flavoured, hookahs, pipes, rolling cigarettes, cigars and electronic cigarettes, offer a variety of choices to the consumer.

For this reason, even with all the campaigns about the risks of smoking, there is normally an early age for first tobacco contact regardless of its type. Below is an overview of the types of tobacco commonly encountered;

‘Common’ Cigarette


Constituents of a common cigarette

  1. Filter.
  2. Tipping paper to cover the filter.
  3. Rolling paper to cover the tobacco.
  4. Tobacco blend.

The common cigarette consists of two essential elements, the filter and the paper:


At present, almost all cigarettes have filters, supposedly to minimize the absorption of toxic substances whilst smoking. The user has the false sense that he is protecting his health by receiving a lower dose of carcinogenic substances.

The filters are formed by holes. When the smoker sucks in the smoke during the ‘draw’ and compress the filter holes with his lips or fingers, they inhale nicotine and tar.


The paper is the tobacco ‘shell.’ Titanium oxide within the paper is responsible for the amount and density of the smoke produced, as well as the time the cigarette remains lit. During the act of smoking, the burn is faster to release a greater amount of nicotine; at rest, the burning is slower to increase the life of the cigarette.

Titanium oxide can cause sneezing and coughing.

Menthol is used in the paper to disguise these side effects. It diminishes the cough reflex and disguises dry sensations in the throat.

Flavoured cigarettes

Flavoured cigarettes were designed to attract younger, non-addicted smokers. The composition of these cigarettes is, in most aspects, the same as that of a common cigarette. The major difference is the inclusion of additives, which give the cigarettes a desirable flavour.

Flavoured cigarettes (menthol) will be removed from UK stores entirely by 2020.

Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes produce inhalable vapour, with or without nicotine. Studies show that electronic cigarette vapour contains carcinogenic substances.

These cigarettes have reduced the content of some substances, however, those that cause lung cancer, pulmonary emphysema, and other tobacco-related diseases remain present.

The fact that these cigarettes may be lower in nicotine makes the smoker inhale even more to meet their perceived needs.

There is a growing concern regarding individuals who have never consumed nicotine using electronic cigarettes as a gateway to actual smoking, as they are perceived to be a desirable product to young people.

Rolling Cigarettes

Rolling cigarettes are potentially more harmful to health than classic cigarettes.

The smoker may choose not to, or not have access to, utilise a filter increasing the concentration of inhaled carcinogens.

Even if a filter is placed, this is often not tightly adherent to the paper as in classic cigarettes, and allows increased numbers carcinogens to be inhaled.

Additionally, their construction is not subject to the same regulations as classic cigarettes. There is no control over the tobacco utilised or how they are constructed by the user.

Shisha (hookah/water pipe)

Shisha (Hookah/Water Pipe)

A hookah is a single or multi-stemmed instrument for vaporizing and smoking flavoured tobacco, popular with young adults. This form of consumption diffuses the smoke through an aqueous medium.

Although less irritating to the mucosa of the airways, the amount of smoke inhaled can be as high as 10 litres an hour. When consuming a cigarette, intake does not reach even 0.5l/hr. In addition to the toxic smoke, most people end up sharing this instrument. This increases the risk of transmission of infectious diseases such as herpes, tuberculosis or hepatitis.


There is widespread misconception that smoking pipes or cigars is significantly less harmful than smoking classic or rolled cigarettes. In some countries, such as the United States of America, there has been an increase in the use of cigars and pipes because of this.

Cigars and pipes can injure the lungs in the same way as other inhaled tobacco products, and due to the lack of filter can be extremely harmful to the lungs and oral cavity. It should be reiterated; the source of tobacco smoke does not matter. It can all potentially cause metastatic disease.


Substances within tobacco smoke

A cigarette contains about 4,000 substances with toxic and irritant effects, where more than 70 of them are can be considered carcinogenic. Here are some examples:

  • Nicotine, responsible for reducing blood supply to tissues and the central nervous system;
  • Radioactive substances (such as Polonium 210 and Carbon 14);
  • Heavy metals (such as lead and cadmium) that concentrate in the liver, kidneys and lungs;
  • Carbon monoxide that takes the place of oxygen, leading to intoxication of the body;
  • Tar (highly carcinogenic) .


Bibliography & Further Reading
4th ed (DSM-IV). Washington (DC): American Psychiatric Association; 1994.
a report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention
Alberg, Anthony et al. U:S: Department of health and Human Services, Cancer In: Surgeon General´s Report – The Health Consequences of Smoking, 2004; pp 25-26.
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
Anand Preetha et al., Cancer is a preventable Disease that requires Major lifestyle changes, Pharmaceutical research, 2008 25(9).
and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2004.
Clinical Descriptions and Diagnostic Guidelines. Geneva: WHO; 1992.
Fundação Portuguesa de Cardiologia
Geneva: WHO; 2004.
Hechr SS., Tobacco carcinogens, their biomarkers and tobacco-induced cancer. Nat Rev Cancer 2003 Oct; 3(10):733-4.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevetion. Women and smoking: a Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General; 2001.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of smoking:
WHO Report on the global Tobacco Epidemic, the MPOWER package. Geneve. World Health Organization, 2008.
World Health Organization. Neuroscience of psychoactive substance use and dependence.
World Health Organization. The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders:
Cigarette Diagram by Pbroks 13. Available at Licensed under CC BY-SA3.0
Hookah by Yvette. Available at Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Tobacco by Llima Orosa. Available at Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
Tobacco by nextpageplease. Available at Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
vieil amant: ceci est une pipe, merci by pedro veneroso. Available at Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0