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How does tar in cigarettes affect health?

Cigarette tar refers to the toxic chemicals that are added during the production of tobacco cigarettes. Different cigarettes are given ratings based on the amount of tar they include. Cigarettes with the highest tar concentration have more than 22 mg of tar in each cigarette, while low-tar cigarettes have less than 7 mg in each. Tar can be found in a brown solid form at the end of a smoked cigarette.

Colouring Effects

Cigarette tar can show immediate health effects in terms of a smoker's appearance. The tar in cigarettes can stain smokers' teeth and turn them yellow and brown. In addition, cigarette tar can stain anything it touches brown, including a smoker's hands and clothing. Filters in tobacco cigarettes are intended to keep tar from exiting, but toxins still make it through and can leave a brown-yellow film behind.

Major Health Effects

The tar in tobacco cigarettes is a major cause of lung cancer, emphysema and bronchitis. The toxins from the tar can damage lung cells that keep tumours from forming. Cigarette tar also damages cilia in the lungs, which protect the lining of the lungs. In addition to the discolouring of teeth, tar can cause periodontitis, a gum disease that can result in the loss of teeth.

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About the Author

Bennett Gavrish is an I.T. professional who has been writing about computers, electronics and the Web since 2004. His work has appeared in the "Nashua Telegraph" and the "Daily Free Press" and on numerous websites. Gavrish received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Boston University.