Deadly Chemicals in Every Cigarette

During the cigarette manufacturing stage, harmful chemicals are naturally created and others may be added. Explore this process below.


Not all of the harmful chemicals created during tobacco manufacturing are added; some occur naturally as tobacco is prepared for use. These chemicals include a class of carcinogens called tobacco-specific nitrosamines, or TSNAs.1

The amount of TSNAs can vary depending on the way that tobacco is cured, which typically happens in one of three ways.1

  • In flue-curing, the tobacco leaves dry inside a heated building.
  • In air-curing, the tobacco leaves dry in an open area protected from wind and sun.
  • In sun-curing, the leaves dry in nets under direct sunlight.

Also, manufacturers may use additives to enhance product flavor and reduce harshness.1,2,3 But some of these added chemicals can also cause harm. Ammonia compounds can change how easily nicotine can be absorbed into the body, which can make the cigarette more addictive.1 Added sugars, when burned, become carcinogens.1

What are some of the chemicals added or created during the manufacture stage?


How much do you know about how cigarettes are made?

Test your knowledge with these true/false questions.

Page Last Updated: 02/03/2017
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