I’m not quite sure if there’s a most carcinogenic chemical, as those different chemicals can create cancer at different sites, so it’s difficult to measure the level of cancer it can cause. The link cited below is a list of known human carcinogens. Please keep in mind that there are uncertain carcinogens as well.
Nicotine might be the chemical that causes or has caused the most cancer.
Nicotine is actually non-carcinogenic! That’s right, it DOESN’T cause cancer. When it comes to smoking, it is actually the TARS that cause cancer (this is why nicotine patches and gum are considered to be MUCH safer than smoking).
Needless to say, smoking has probably caused more cancer than any other single thing out there. But even when it comes to cigarette tar, it is impossible to know whether any one component is a standout in terms of causing cancer. 3,4-Benzo(a)pyrene seems to get a particularly bad rap when it comes to tobacco carcinogens. But it is unknown whether this compound is really any worse (or causes any more cancer) than the many other carcinogens in tobacco smoke.
Excellent – thanks for the clarification!
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