Carbon monoxide in cigarettes is released when you smoke. This is same deadly odorless, colorless gas that comes out the tailpipe of your car or a faulty gas heater.
In high enough concentrations it is deadly. In lower doses it causes shortness of breath and increased heart rate. CO levels in cigarette smoke usually reaches levels of about 1-3 percent.
Hazards and Dangers of Carbon Monoxide in Cigarettes
The CO molecule has a closer affinity to haemoglobin than the oxygen molecule. This means carbon monoxide in cigarettes will replace oxygen in the blood. Basically, this danger of carbon monoxide in cigarettes makes it harder for red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Tests have shown that after smoking a pack of cigarettes in 8 hours, carbon monoxide blood saturation reaches 7 to 15 percent, reducing the availability of oxygen.
Carbon monoxide in cigarettes is hazardous to your body at any level, and it can kill you. Long-term exposure even at lower levels can lead to heart disease. The normal level of CO in the blood for a non-smoker is usually between 0 and 8 parts per million.
Smoking one pack of cigarettes a day will result in a carbon monoxide level of about 20 parts per million. Two packs may result in a level of about 40 parts per million. Fortunately, the body can eliminate carbon monoxide within one or two days after you quit smoking.
Carbon monoxide in cigarettes also contributes to the fatty build-up on your artery walls. Smokers’ hearts have to work harder to push blood around the body, the blood containing less oxygen than normal. Another reason why smokers get out of breath easily.