SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cigarettes and disease. Cigarette butts and ash in a heart-shaped ash tray with a lung X-ray in the background. Tobacco contains the stimulant nicotine which is responsible for the addictive nature of cigarette smoking. The tar and particles in tobacco smoke irritate the linings of the respiratory system leading to chronic bronchitis, emphysema and an increased risk of lung cancer. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke passes from the lungs into the bloodstream; high levels of carbon monoxide cause hardening of the arteries which increases the risk of coronary thrombosis and stroke.
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