The following comment was submitted by harleyrider1978, firstname.lastname@example.org, on 2010/01/24 at 5:01 pm. I’m allowing it so that I can address a blatant distortion in it, even though harleyrider1978 hasn’t yet identified himself to me, even privately, as requested.
I reproduce the entire comment but I want to focus on one assertion to emphasize how SHS harm deniers play fast and loose with the facts.
I would truly like to see just one anti-smoking site post the true chemical composition of second hand smoke/environmental smoke rather than just the 3% that contains those supposed 4000 chemicals you so proudly claim everywhere at all the other smoke free websites….simply put H2O is the main component of tobacco smoke at over 90%.
You might also show the toxicology comparisons of those nanograms and femptograms that osha did to show just how insignificant shs/ets truly is.
After receiving the above dismissive comment I checked the 679 page U.S. Surgeon General’s 1989 Report Reducing the Health Consequences of Smoking: 25 Years Of Progress.
Chapter 2, from pages 33 – 169, is titled Advances in Knowledge of the Health Consequences of Smoking, and on page 79 is a section The Physicochemical Nature of Tobacco, dealing with the actual chemical makeup of the constituents in both mainstream smoke inhaled by the smoker and the sidestream smoke (SHS) inhaled by the exposed nonsmoker.
It notes: “Today, the estimated number of known compounds in tobacco smoke exceeds 4,000, including some that are pharmacologically active, toxic, mutagenic, and carcinogenic (US DHEW 1979; US DHHS 1983).“
On the following page is a detailed figure showing the composition of cigarette mainstream smoke, i.e. that inhaled by the smoker, reproduced below (please click the figure to enlarge). The figure shows four vertical bars, the second vertical bar representing the main chemical constituents of MS smoke, labelled WHOLE SMOKE, dominated by N2 (nitrogen) ~62% by weight, and O2 (oxygen) ~13% by weight.
The 4.5% at the top of this symbolic cigarette is in the “TPM (Wet)” category, the main components of which are shown in the first vertical bar. Of that 4.5% only about 16% is WATER (H2O), i.e. only about 0.7% of the total.
The main constituents in the “VAPOR PHASE,” which constitutes 13.5% of the total, is shown in the third vertical bar. Only 10% of that is H2O by weight, i.e. about 1.35% of the total is water. So according to this analysis the amount of H2O in the mainstream smoke inhaled by a smoker is only about 2% TOTAL (0.7% Wet + 1.35% Vapor Phase), and NOT the “over 90%” alleged by harleyrider1978.
If I’m wrong, please correct me. If I’m right, harleyrider1978 owes me an apology (and an ID).
Addenda Feb. 28, 2010:
Just to address the issue of 4,000 chemicals which have been identified in tobacco smoke. The number of those which are human carcinogens has grown over the years as evidence on them has accumulated. For example, the following relevant section can be found on page 8 of National Toxicology Program Final Report on Carcinogens – Environmental Tobacco Smoke, December 2 – 3, 1998:
One half, or more (by weight), of the smoke generated by a lit cigarette is SS emitted from the smoldering cigarette (U.S. EPA 1992). SS and MS contain many of the same chemical constituents because they originate from similar processes. ETS contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Among these, at least 200 are toxic and 43 were known carcinogens as identified in the 1992 EPA review. Approximately 400 compounds have been quantified in both MS and SS smoke. Although many constituents of MS and SS are the same, their emission rates vary as shown in Table 1-1 (U.S. EPA 1992).
In the most recent USSG Report on SHS, released in 2006, is the following on page 12 of the pdf Report :
Chapter 2. Toxicology of Secondhand Smoke Evidence of Carcinogenic Effects from Secondhand Smoke Exposure
1. More than 50 carcinogens have been identified in sidestream and secondhand smoke.
Table 2.1 of the Report on pages 31-32 lists over 30 of them, starting with Acrylonitrile and ending with radioactive Polonium-210:
8 Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
3 Aromatic amines
5 Miscellaneous organics, and
6 Inorganic compounds