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Toxic cigarette ingredients revealed
Smoking
Toxic shock: Users inhale more than just smoke
Chemicals used to make paintstripper and rocket fuel are among a list of 600 toxic substances legally found in cigarettes, the government has revealed.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn has published details of the "permitted additives" in tobacco products as part of his 50m anti-smoking drive.

The list includes acetone, used to make paint stripper; ammonia, contained in toilet cleaners; butane, a form of lighter fuel; and beta-naphthyl methylether, more commonly known as mothballs.
What's in a cigarette?
Acetone
Ammonia
Butane
Hydrogen cyanide
Methanol
Arsenic
Carbon monoxide
Smokers also take the risk of inhaling hydrogen cyanide, the poison used in gas chambers; methanol, a rocket fuel; arsenic and carbon monoxide, the poisonous gas in car exhausts.

Mr Milburn believes the list will help convince smokers of the dangers they face.

Its publication comes amid efforts by the European Parliament to force manufacturers to list the contents of cigarettes on the packets, a move backed by Britain.

Mr Milburn's aides claim the list was given to the previous Conservative government by cigarette manufacturers on the condition it was never published.

Dried fruit extracts

John Carlisle, spokesman for the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, denied there had ever been a secret deal not to release the list of additives.

But he admitted companies were reluctant to publish details of additives in particular brands for commercial reasons.

Apart from the deadly chemicals, there are ingredients to improve the taste of cigarettes, such as sucrose and dried fruit extracts, and other substances to speed up the nicotine "hit".

Amanda Sandford, of the anti-smoking group Ash, said that tobacco companies had been allowed to put additives in cigarettes for 30 years without any public scrutiny.

See also:

18 Jul 02 | Medical notes
11 Oct 99 | Health
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