Everybody knows that cigarettes are full of tar, particulates, and nicotine. But according to a paper in Health Physics News, they also contain polonium-210 — an isotope that dramatically increases the cancer risk for smokers.
The isotope is one of tobacco’s natural ingredients; it becomes radioactive only once it’s “volatilized,” or set aflame. And while cigarette filters that remove polonium have been available for nearly four decades, cigarette manufacturers won’t shoulder the cost of using them. “It is far beyond time that polonium be removed from cigarettes and/or cigarette smoke,” the paper’s authors conclude. To us, that seems like an understatement.
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