Monday, October 3, 2011

Cigarettes Are Radioactive

According to an ABC News report, scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles, reviewed 27 previously unanalyzed tobacco company documents and found that tobacco companies knew that cigarettes contained radioactive Polonium-210 as early as 1959, and did nothing about it.

Dr. John Spangler, a professor of family medicine at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, said when smokers inhale, the radioactive particles damage the tissue on the surface of the lungs, creating "hot spots" of damage. When combined with other cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco, Spangler said the damage from radiation is potent.

More importantly, according to the same report, Polonium's radioactive particles also don't simply vanish when cigarette smoke blows away. Spangler said smokers may not realize how long this radiation can linger in their homes. "Some of these radiation particles hang around for decades and decades," Spangler said. "You're emitting radiation when you smoke, and your family, your dog, your cat are all inhaling that radiation. How many smokers want to expose their child to radiation?"

According to another anti-smoking advocate, Megan Yarbrough -
However, today’s headlines actually drill home a far more important point — our society has a very short memory. Nearly the exact same story hit the stands in 2008 after the publication of a study by Mayo Clinic and Stanford University.
And - I'd like to add my opinion to the mix in stating that perhaps other people knew about the radioactivity of cigarettes even before 2008, and as far back as the 1980s. But no one was listening back then either. Like Megan says, we tend to have short memories.

What do I mean?

I could be wrong, but I'd like to think that perhaps the rock group, The Firm, knew that they were being poisoned from all of the secondhand smoke they inhaled while playing at their various gigs, and tried to warn others about the dangers.

But, don't just take my word for it. Here's video of them explaining their unfortunate medical condition to fans at one of their concerts -


  1. I heard a rumor that Philip Morris was working on creating a brand of cigarettes during the 1960's that was to be marketed to health conscious smokers. However, they scrapped the idea when Polonium Light didn't contain enough nicotine, failed to generate much interest.

  2. "The documents show that the industry was well aware of the presence of a radioactive substance in tobacco as early as 1959. Furthermore, the industry was not only cognizant of the potential “cancerous growth” in the lungs of regular smokers but also did quantitative radiobiological calculations to estimate the long-term (25 years) lung radiation absorption dose (rad) of ionizing alpha particles emitted from the cigarette smoke."

    Source: So About That ‘Glowing’ Cigarette…

  3. Via the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids -

    Why are U.S. and other internationally-known performers pushing tobacco to kids? Many countries, including the U.S., ban tobacco companies from sponsoring concerts and other events. But some countries still allow tobacco companies to market and promote their deadly products to kids.

    For example, in Indonesia, there are almost no restrictions on tobacco advertising and sponsorship. As a result, the tobacco industry aggressively promotes its deadly products at events such as concerts and music competitions with dreadful success: an estimated 78% of current Indonesian smokers started before the age of 19.

    We're calling on artists to Tune Out Tobacco by refusing to perform at any event sponsored by tobacco companies or allowing their images or music to be used to promote tobacco.