Another reason to quit smoking: radioactive particles in cigarettes.

Another reason to quit smoking: Radioactive particles are in all brands of cigarettes. These particles were first identified in 1964 as the isotope polonium-210, which emits carcinogenic alpha radiation. This radioactive substance has been shown to cause lung cancer. What’s more, the tobacco industry had known about this since the early 1960′s and had tried to suppress such information. They also tried, but unsuccessfully, to remove these substances.[1] As a result of a court case, documents from the tobacco industry were examined in 1998 and the cover up was discovered. A new study by UCLA[2] (University of California, LA) estimates that smoking for 25 years would cause between 120-138 deaths per 1,000 regular smokers. The study was recently published in the Nicotine & Tobacco Research, the peer-reviewed journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, and confirms previous research showing the tobacco industry’s knowledge of radioactive substances and attempts to hide the information from consumers.


[1] Muggli, M. E., Ebbert, J. O., Robertson, C., Hurt, R. D. (2008). Waking a Sleeping Giant: The Tobacco Industry’s Response to the Polonium-210 Issue. American Journal of Public Health, ISSN 0090-0036, 09/2008, Volume 98, Issue 9, pp. 1643 – 1650


[2] Science News. (2011).  Big Tobacco Knew Radioactive Particles in Cigarettes Posed Cancer Risk but Kept Quiet, Study Suggests. Science Daily, Sep 29, 2011.


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