Tobacco Companies Suppressed Documented Existence of Radiation Emission from Smoking or Chewing Tobacco

In my days as a realtor I became familiar with the issues involved in radon testing.

Home buyers had the right to demand radon tests and to abrogate a contract should the emission level be high than EPA standards and the sellers unwilling to provide remedial measures involving ventillation systems. During the housing bubble buyers frequently were forced to overlook such niceties as home inspections, not to speak of radon testing.

I did explore the radon situation then, in order to explain what was involved to clients, and I learned what seemed to be an anomalous bit of information. Sufficient exposure to radon could be a factor in a person's getting lung cance, but the effect of radon emissions were much more serious to smokers than non-smokers. I assumed that this was so because smokers would be exposed to other carcinogents etc., etc.

Now it comes out that CIGARETTE SMOKE CONTAINS RADIATION, and this was something known to the tobacco companies as long as 40 years. Hat tip to webspawner for picking up this well-documented story.

For over 40 years, researchers and tobacco corporations have known that cigarettes contain radionuclides(1). The contamination is sourced in naturally occurring radioactive radon gas(2) which is absorbed and trapped in apatite rock(3). ...


In 1982, tobacco researchers DiFranza and Winters concluded that smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes per day exposed a person to the same radiation as 300 chest x-rays per year. ...

snip [Modern estimates raise the number to 2,000 x-rays.]....

Recently released tobacco corporation internal memos and reports indicate that they were well aware of radiation contamination as early as 1964(12), and discussed methods to remove polonium from tobacco in 1975(13). In 1977, Phillip Morris confirmed that superphosphate fertilizer was a source of polonium(14).

It appears that Web Spawner is a host service and the article appears without other attibution. However in an article which appeared in the leading French newspaper Le Figaro on August 28, author Jean-Michel substantiates the story. He covers essentially the same ground but also identifies the radioactive substance polonium, which is found in cigarette, with that used to assassinate Alexander Litvinenko in London.

The title of the articlearticle is "Le secret du polonium 210 dans la fumée de cigarette." [roughly translated, The Secret of Polonium 210 in the Smoke of Cigarettes.}

Philip Morris (PM), RJ Reynolds, British American Tobacco et toutes les «majors» de l'industrie du tabac ont volontairement caché au public pendant plus de quarante ans la présence dans les feuilles de tabac, les cigarettes et la fumée de tabac d'un élément radioactif dangereux et cancérigène, le polonium 210 (210Po). C'est ce composé, un des radioéléments les plus toxiques, avec une activité spécifique qualifiée de «colossale» par le radiothérapeute parisien Jean-Marc Cosset, qui avait servi à assassiner l'ex-agent du KGB Alexander Litvi­nenko à Londres en 2006.

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The story referred to here appears to be this. Mayo Clinic Researcher Monique Muggli has directed a team which has investigated cigarette company knowledge of the presence of Polonium 210 in tobacco, and the suppression of that knowledge.

Mayo issued this statement August 23rd.
Searching google news does not produce much responsive US coverage, though some shows up from Britain and France.

The team's work is published in the September issue of the American Journal of Public Health (Pay to play.) put out a newswire on the story.