Washington State University researchers have created more than a dozen candidate drugs with the potential to curb smokers’ desire for nicotine by slowing how it is broken down in the body.

The researchers hope the substances can help people reduce their consumption of tobacco, if not quit altogether.

The discovery, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, targets a liver enzyme, called CYP2A6, which metabolizes nicotine.

There are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes.

When burned, they create more than 7,000 chemicals.

At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many are poisonous.

Many of these chemicals also are found in consumer products, but these products have warning labels.

While the public is warned about the danger of the poisons in these products, there is no such warning for the toxins in tobacco smoke:

Acetone – found in nail polish remover

Acetic Acid – an ingredient in hair dye

Ammonia – a common household cleaner

Arsenic – a poison, used in wood preservatives and in rat poison

Benzene – an industrial solvent, refined from crude oil

Beryllium – used in nuclear reactors

Butane – used in lighter fluid

Cadmium – used in batteries

Chromium – used to manufacture dye, paints and alloys

Carbon Monoxide – released in car exhaust fumes

Ethylene oxide – a disinfectant used to sterilise hospital equipment

Formaldehyde – embalming fluid used in mortuaries and paint manufacturing

Hexamine – found in barbecue lighter fluid

Lead – used in batteries

Naphthalene – an ingredient in mothballs

Methanol – a main component in rocket fuel

Nicotine – used as insecticide

1,3-Butadiene – used in rubber manufacturing

Nickel – used to protect metals from corrosion

Ortho-Toluidine – used in the production of weedkillers

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – a group of dangerous DNA-damaging chemicals, including benzo(a)pyrene

Polonium-210 – a highly radioactive element

Tar – material for paving roads

Toluene – used to manufacture paint

Vinyl chloride – used to produce plastic and vinyl products

4-aminobiphenyl and 2-naphthyl-amine – used in dye manufacturing until it was banned in the EU

And then there are tobacco-specific nitrosamines – a group of cancer-causing chemicals only found in tobacco.

If you want to stop smoking and you really decided to stop, you will stop.

For more information
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
Identification of the 4-Position of 3-Alkynyl and 3-Heteroaromatic Substituted Pyridine Methanamines as a Key Modification Site Eliciting Increased Potency and Enhanced Selectivity for Cytochrome P-450 2A6 Inhibition

Washington State University

American Lung Association
What’s In a Cigarette?

American Lung Association
E-cigarettes and Lung Health

Cancer Research UK
What’s in a cigarette?

A study of pyrazines in cigarettes and how additives might be used to enhance tobacco addiction

EUROPA > DG Health and Consumer Protection > Public Health
Tobacco Additives

American Journal of Public Health®
Pharmacological and Chemical Effects of Cigarette Additives

In 1994 Brown and Williamson (one of largest tobacco manufacturers in the USA) published a list of all the additives used in their cigarettes which includes information on the sources of the additives and their side-effects


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