How does tar affect your body?


Quick Answer

Tar is the primary cause of throat and lung cancer in smokers, and it also causes yellow-brown stains on the teeth and fingers, according to the Australian National Preventive Health Agency. It is a particular substance created by burning tobacco that becomes part of cigarette smoke.

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Full Answer

Every particle of tar consists of numerous organic and inorganic chemicals, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen, explains the Australian National Preventive Health Agency. It is also composed of numerous volatile and semi-volatile organic chemicals. Tar is a sticky brown substance in its condensate form. While some tar stays permanently in the lungs, other tar is coughed up or exhaled while smoking. Lung cells tend to die when the lungs absorb tar. Cigarette smoke destroys or paralyzes the cilia, which are tiny hairs lining the upper airways and protecting the body from infection. When the cilia get damaged, tar penetrates the lungs and causes more damage. Immediate health effects caused by tar include shortness of breath and coughing. Smoking leads to more serious complications, such as emphysema.

The Australian National Preventive Health Agency says that even "light" cigarettes cause harm. Smokers of these cigarettes breathe more deeply, smoke more frequently and absorb the same amounts of harmful chemicals as "regular" brands. All cigarettes lead to dangerous tar deposits in the lungs of smokers.

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