Causes of allergies to cigarettes: tobacco or chemical components of cigarette smoke?
The contents of cigarettes are tobacco, which, like tomato, potato, eggplant, bleached and proper nightshade, belongs to the Solanum family. Of the three alkaloids of tobacco - anabasin, ornikotina and nicotine - the most famous is nicotine, part of the molecule which is similar to the important neurotransmitter of the central nervous system of man acetylcholine. It is the drop of this alkaloid that the idea should kill the horse ... For a person, nicotine is a potent neuro- and cardiotoxin (ie poison), and for the plant itself - just a protection against harmful insects.
As an allergy to cigarettes is associated with the chemical composition of raw materials for their production, scientists are finding out to this day. Until recently, there was an opinion that the allergy to cigarettes does not have an immune component and, in fact, is a typical allergic reaction to an external stimulus. That is, immune cells (antibodies) do not react to tobacco, and only flavorings added by producers to tobacco products (eg menthol) are capable of causing an allergy to cigarettes. In extreme cases, allergies are provoked by the remnants of insecticides, which are treated by tobacco plantations. Or cigarette paper, which for acceleration of burning is impregnated with ammonium nitrate (ammonium nitrate). In addition, no one knows that it contains "secondary tobacco" - that is, tobacco dust and waste products of tobacco production, which are filled with cheap tobacco ...
In the process of drying and fermentation, the chemical composition of tobacco leaves is approximately the following: nicotine (0.2-4.6%), carbohydrates (1.6-23%), organic di- and tricarboxylic acids (9-16%), proteins (6.4-13%), polyphenides and phenolic glycosides (1.2-7.5%), pectins (10-14%), phenolic glycosides (2-6%), essential oils (up to 1.5%) , resin (2.5-5%).
It is the protein content that is the biochemical basis for the appearance of a real allergy to cigarettes (like pollen or animal hair).
As for cigarette smoke, as a result of pyrolysis (thermal decomposition of organic substances) during smoking, more than 4,000 chemical compounds are formed, of which about 200 are poisonous, 14 are narcotic and 44 are carcinogenic. The gas phase of cigarette smoke contains: nitrogen and its oxides, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide (carbon monoxide), acetaldehyde, methane, hydrogen cyanide (hydrocyanic acid), nitric acid, acetone, ammonia, methanol, specific nitrosamines (acrolein, benzene and benzopyrene ), nitrobenzene, carboxylic acids, phenols, cresols, naphthols, naphthalenes. Among the 76 metals that are found in cigarette smoke, there are nickel, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, lead, strontium, cesium and polonium - in the form of radioactive isotopes.
So what are the causes of allergies to cigarettes? Studies of skin tests with an experimental tobacco allergen have shown that antigens of both tobacco and cigarette smoke are capable of stimulating the body's immune response (i.e., activating T-lymphocytes). They can also increase irritation in those who are generally prone to allergies.