Chemistry Social Relevance: Proposed smoking bans in South Australia.

Essay by ruby_redHigh School, 12th gradeA-, July 2004

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Chemistry Social Relevance Report

A total ban on cigarette smoking in hotels will be enforced by late October in 2007. Some people think that this is too soon, while others believe it is not soon enough.

Smoking is the largest cause of preventable death in developed countries. More than 700,000 people have died from tobacco related illnesses in the past 50 years. Apart from the harm every smoker does to their own body, the Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) their cigarette produces also harms the non-smokers around them. Add the environmental degradation and huge economic burden each smoker places on Australia to the already well documented health problems connected to smoking and there is a clear reason why the South Australian Government's smoking ban needs to be implemented sooner rather than later.

Cigarette smoke is a complex mixture of chemicals, which varies depending on the brand and type of cigarette smoked.

It is formed when the treated tobacco in a cigarette (itself a mixture of over 2,000 chemical constituents) is burnt incompletely (equations below) producing between 4,000 to 5,000 chemical compounds in the form of either gases or particles:

"Cigarette smoke is constantly changing as the smoke 'ages' - chemicals in the smoke and background atmosphere react with each other and can also change under the effect of ultra-violet light."

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), 'What goes in? What comes out?, February 2001,

Complete combustion:

Fuel + O2 → CO2 + H2O

Incomplete combustion:

Fuel + O2 → CO2 + CO + hydrocarbons (CxHy) + oxides + other semi-combusted materials

There are two types of cigarette smoke; mainstream smoke, which is the smoke the smoker inhales while drawing on a cigarette and sidestream smoke (also called Environmental Tobacco Smoke), which is created as the cigarette smoulders while not...