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Emphysema Kills Slowly, with Free Radicals and Radiation in Cigarette Smoke

Updated on August 29, 2014

Emphysema is caused by free radicals and radiation in chewing tobacco and cigarette smoke

In the lungs

Emphysema is a disease of the lungs. It consists of inflammation of air passageways and alveoli or air sacs. Inflammation is accompanied by phlegm. Passageways and air sacs become inelastic that makes breathing difficult. Stale air is trapped. Severely inflamed air sacs eventually rupture; rupture is irreversible (Walker, M. M.P.D. The Miracle Healing Power of Chelation Therapy. 1984:49). As the number of ruptured air sacs increases, the number of air sacs used in breathing decreases.

The lungs have 200 to 600 million air sacs or alveoli (Astrand, Per-Olof and Kaare Rodahl. Textbook of Work Physiology, Physiological Bases of Exercise. 1977:211).

It takes time to rupture that number. That is why emphysema kills slowly. But rupture is not one after another but sometimes in clusters. One inflamed air sac can induce inflammation of a neighboring air sac. Or the inflammation agent attacks a lot of air sacs. Alveoli are like balloons pricked by needles that are the free radicals and radiation. The collapse of an air sac is irreversible.

A normal person spends 15% of his energy for breathing. One suffering from severe emphysema spends 85% of his energy for breathing. By then he is bed-ridden with only 15% energy left of him.


What attacks the passageways and air sacs in emphysema? Free radicals and radiation. These come from the smoke of cigarettes or cigars, or from chewed tobacco. Not from the tar that has been believed as the cause of cancer and heart disease up until now – by conventional medicine.

How does tobacco smoke, inhaled by the smoker or by a non-smoker, come to contain free radicals and radiation?

The tobacco plant accumulates lead 210 and polonium 210, radioactive semi-metals, from the soil and air (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2009). They originated from the sun. These materials are also supplied by the phosphate fertilizers used to grow tobacco (Cranton, E. MD and A. Brecher. Bypassing Bypass. 1984). They are found in the stems, leaves and smoke of tobacco. They generate free radicals and radiation.

Polonium 210 is unstable and decays into lead 206 that is stable. Polonium has 84 protons and 84 electrons that counterbalance each other. The process of decay is called alpha particle decay. Two alpha particles tunnel through the nucleus releasing energy.

The former 84 protons are reduced to 82. But the 84 electrons are not reduced in number, so there are two extra electrons that are left behind that are free. These make decaying polonium 210 a free radical.

It is well known that radiation cause cancer if given in overdose. That is why treatment by radiation is always measured to avoid creating another disease.

A free radical is any atom, or molecule or fragment of a molecule with at least one free electron. This free electron is unstable and to stabilize itself marauds for another electron that is usually from a neighboring molecule of a tissue. The injury may be inflicted on a membrane of a cell or on the DNA of the cell. This injury results in tumor or cancer. It results in cell death or inflammation in the case of emphysema. Of course, in collapse of air sac.

Polonium 210 has a half life of 138.4 days. That means that a dose of this semi-metal taken from tobacco stays in the body of the smoker, or non-smoker who inhales secondhand smoke, in at least 138.4 days. During this time, free radicals and radiation are generated that wreak havoc on the whole body, not only the lungs.

Lead 210 decays into polonium 210; lead 210 has a half life of 22 years. It means that lead 210 stays in the body supplying polonium and radiation in at least 22 years plus another 22 years. The amount of radiation in the body accumulates.

Early halt

A smoker who stops smoking now will be attacked by free radicals and radiation in 44 more years to come. If he died at age 100 years his bones and DNA will still be attacked in his grave in 44 years more. The same is true for a non-smoker who inhales secondhand smoke. (A pharaoh who died two thousand years ago can be identified with the use of his DNA.)

What adds to the hazards of free radicals and polonium is the psychological factor. Smoking is an addiction and the smoker, and victim of emphysema, may not be able to kick the habit.

Phlegm may be remedied; however, inflammation of air passageways and air sacs may not be stopped. All the more so if the victim of emphysema does not stop smoking. It is like limiting the flow of water in a faucet; however, the reservoir is being replenished. It’s like the great floods in the Tennessee Valley whose inundation is attempted to be stopped by a series of dams built in different states downstream.

Halt in smoking now by a 70-year-old person who has emphysema might be futile depending on the extent of his affliction. Halt in smoking earlier still puts him at risk of tumor, or lung cancer, or pneumonia, or heart disease or emphysema before natural death finally comes. Pneumonia develops when bacteria attack the phlegm. An early halt in smoking will leave for the victim some years to live.

Well, for some people death is of no consideration. But for the sake of the non-smoker!


Emphysema can be stopped or alleviated or mitigated by halt in smoking, by medication, by antioxidants, by infusion chelation therapy. However, it is hoped that the body can cope with the dose of radiation from tobacco. At least the extra free radicals from lead 210 and polonium 210 can be mopped up. That can probably slow down the progress of emphysema. Some air sacs are still left behind for use in breathing but definitely the victim is now weaker owing to insufficient oxygen getting into his system.


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  • conradofontanilla profile image

    conradofontanilla 5 years ago from Philippines

    Sue Adams,

    I had failed to give this piece of advice for myself. I've come to realize it only recently when I did research on cigarette smoke in writing my Hub "How Free Radicals and X-rays In Cigarette Smoke, Not Tar, Cause Cancer and Heart Disease." Like you, I am glad I had quit smoking not that early but soon enough such that some years are still left for me to enjoy life and see my children grow up unharmed by secondhand smoke from me. I shudder at the thought I could have caused them harm unmindful of facts that had been lying around in books and encyclopedias but for the lack of the right framework to interpret them. That framework is free radical theories of disease that is being resisted or ignored by conventional medicine.

  • Sue Adams profile image

    Juliette Kando 5 years ago from Andalusia

    Wow, I never knew that "A smoker who stops smoking now will be attacked by free radicals and X-rays in 44 more years to come". Am I glad I gave up smoking.

    Thank you for this very detailed and most revealing hub.