Cigarettes Contain The Radioactive Isotopes Uranium-235, Uranium-238, Polonium-210, And Lead-210, Leading To Deadly Radiation Accumulation In The Lungs
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a list of 93 harmful chemicals in tobacco products and tobacco smoke, and shockingly there are radioactive isotopes on this list. Apparently each and every cigarette contains Uranium-235 and Uranium-238, with Uranium-235 being the same molecule that is used inside of nuclear weapons to initiate a runaway nuclear chain reaction. Additionally, cigarettes contain Polonium-210 and Lead-210.
Apparently these radioactive isotopes in cigarettes are due to tobacco farmers using uranium-contaminated calcium phosphate fertilizer. This causes tobacco fields to have uranium in the soil, and this uranium decays into radon gas, which further decays into polonium-210 and lead-210. The tobacco plants not only suck the uranium out of the soil, but the fallout products from decaying radon gas get stuck on the sticky hairs of the leaves of a tobacco plant. These sticky hairs are hydrophobic, and water cannot be used to wash off the radiation trapped in them.
Further, the concentration of radioactive isotopes in cigarettes is increasing over time as tobacco fields become more and more contaminated with each application of the uranium-contaminated fertilizer.
When a cigarette smoker lights up a cigarette these radioactive isotopes are inhaled directly into the lungs, and they tend to accumulate in small air passageways in the lungs called bronchioles, where the radioactive isotopes get trapped by sticky tar that accumulates in the same areas due to cigarette smoke.
While these radioactive isotopes generally emit only alpha-radiation, which have a range of only 40 micrometers in the body, significant damage can still be caused to cells if they are stuck against an alpha-particle emitter like the radioactive isotopes which accumulate in the lungs due to cigarette smoking. It is estimated that if someone smokes 1.5 packs of cigarettes per day that they will receive 8000 milli rem per year, equivalent to an X-Ray machine taking 300 scans per year directly in the lungs.
Further, hotspots in the lungs, where the radioactive isotopes accumulate the most, receive a dose of 16,000 milli rem per year, which is equivalent to 16 years of exposure to background radiation. In other words, parts of a smoker’s lungs receive 16 years worth of background radiation per year.
Radiation can be thought of as tiny bullets moving very fast, and when these tiny bullets encounter cells they cause cellular damage and damage to DNA and RNA, which can lead to mutations that cause cancer. Now visualize that smokers lungs are constantly being shot with these tiny bullets all over the place.
Additionally, cigarettes contain 69 carcinogens which bind directly to DNA and cause mutations that can lead to cancer. So cigarette smokers have to deal with both carcinogens attacking their cells as well as radiation. This deadly one-two punch is perhaps why cigarettes are basically the leading cause of death on the planet. This is proved by a scientific study, which found that the synergy of radiation and carcinogens increases the risk of lung cancer by a factor of 8.3 to 25, and between 9% and 14% of deaths from lung cancer in smokers can be attributed to radiation.
It gets even worse. 75% of the radioactive isotopes in cigarette smoke are released into the surrounding environment. If someone smokes cigarettes indoors they irradiate their entire house, and this radiation builds with every cigarette that is smoked since the cigarette smoke tends to stick to everything. Even outside it is certainly unpleasant to think that non-smokers are irradiated a tiny bit each time they walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke. Indeed, the radiation released into the environment by cigarettes may be a fundamental source of damage from secondhand smoke.
Aside from radioactive isotopes and carcinogens, cigarettes contain mercury and arsenic, among other harmful chemicals, and this will be explored in future articles on The Cancer Herald.
The only silver lining is that smokers can now easily switch over to nicotine vaping, which does not contain radiation, as long as the government does not ban it in an attempt to line the pockets of Big Tobacco.