Tobacco products are one of the few products that are not required to put the ingredients on the packaging. Contrary to popular belief cigarettes, pipe tobacco and cigars do not just contain tobacco. There are many different products in tobacco and one of the biggest is sugar. When tobacco is cured it is cured to achieve the highest possible sugar content as sugar aids in the taste of a cigarette. To increase the sugar content even more sugar is aften added to the tobacco, one of the more popular forms is molasses. Cigarettes contain between 20 – 30 % of sugar and the sugar in cigars and pipe tobacco is even higher.
So what does sugar in cigarettes and related tobacco products do?
Firstly it helps the tobacco to burn hotter and quicker, if you are in the game selling cigarettes you do not want them to last too long, you want people to turn over their cigarettes as quick as possible.
Secondly some of the sugar is inhaled as burnt sugar, a product that is highly carcinogenic. But not all the sugar burns, some of it is converted by the heat into a simple sugar which enters the bloodstream when inhaled. This means that every puff of a cigarette gives a sugar jolt, its like sipping on a can of soft drink. This effects the blood sugar levels and they go up and down with each puff. This in turn plays havoc with insulin levels and long term smokers often end up with diabetes.
Next time you smoke a cigarette think about how sweet it is but how bitter is the long term effect.