There are 599 chemicals that cigarette companies add to cigarettes to enhance the flavour or to fill. The reason they are allowed to add these "special ingredients" is (apparently) because all of them have already been approved for use in food.
Organisations such as the FDA in the USA have approved all of the 599 additives at some stage to be used as either; flavour enhancers, preservatives or as fillers and if they have been approved for use in food then why not in something as unhealthy as a cigarette! Why should any further investigation be performed - after all its not like you eat a cigarette is it?
The trouble is that when all these ingredients are used in foods they are relatively harmless. But, if we burn them (ie; light a cigarette) their actual composition changes and they become dangerous - even carcinogeous. Oh - and cigarettes are burned aren't they? This was never considered as worthy of investigation because it would take time and money to investigate and cigarette smoking is an unhealthy habit anyway so why bother?
Eventually when it was discovered that these "harmless" chemicals were not so harmless after being burned it was too late to do anything about it. Cigarette companies are so powerful and making such enormous profits they were not about to change the way they make cigarettes.
To see the 599 chemicals contained in cigarettes listed alphabetically you can click on the links below. Some have been explained in more detail, most are absolutely mind boggling. You can't help but wonder where the idea comes from in the first place to add these ingredients - it had to start somewhere!
Even though it has been stated that the reason these additives were included in cigarettes with approval from our watchdogs was because they had been included in our food I wonder how ammonia is used in food and how that is affecting our health! And - does this mean that if cigarettes were just made from tobacco they would not be as harmful? Makes you think.