What infuriates me is the rank chemophobia that is present in both the NYT article and the original journal article:
According to the National Toxicology Program, these 250 poisonous gases, chemicals, and metals include hydrogen cyanide (used in chemical weapons), carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust), butane (used in lighter fluid), ammonia (used in household cleaners), toluene (found in paint thinners), arsenic (used in pesticides), lead (formerly found in paint), chromium (used to make steel), cadmium (used to make batteries), and polonium-210 (highly radioactive carcinogen).
Look, yes, in a high enough dose, these compounds are really bad for you. But we've known for years that the "real killers" (as opposed to those fake killers) in cigarette smoke are the polyaromatic hydrocarbons and the nitrosoarenes. All these other compounds are bad for you, yes, but it's like focusing on a cop's pocket knife while he's got a .45 cal pointed at your chest.
It points to a really bad habit on the part of reporters: hear chemical name, put into Google, find MSDS, freak out, publish results. Don't forget the #1 rule of toxicology: dose makes the poison, even when the MSDS sounds nasty.