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New Law in U.S.A. Requires Manufacturers to Remove Source of Radiation in Cigarettes

Updated on December 13, 2014

Alexander Litvinenko, called a Russian spy, alleged killed with polonium 210 in London in 2006. (Photo by BBC news UK. Internet. Dec. 14,2014)

Remove or reduce radiation (poison) in cigarettes

Reduce or take out the poison in tobacco or cigarettes.That poison is radioactive material.

The enabling law had been signed by President Barack Obama: “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.”

“This law places the tobacco industry under the control of the FDA allowing the agency to regulate the cigarette manufacturing process. The law also forces the tobacco companies to remove the polonium from the cigarettes thus reducing the number of deaths from cigarette” (Melpor. The Radioactive Polonium In Tobacco Leaves. Sept.10,2012). FDA means Food and Drug Administration of the United States.

At last the political will to put a meaningful control over the consumption of tobacco has been mustered. President Jimmy Carter supported the tobacco industry in the 1970s. In Australia, the cigarette industry has filed a lawsuit against the government for lost income owing to regulations over plain labeling of tobacco products (Internet Sept. 10, 2012).. That is only on labeling.

End of denial and perjury

Individuals and citizen health groups have been in uphill battles against the cigarette industry for several years. The industry had always taunted the anti-smoking movement that all the evidence that could be shown against smoking are statistics and not direct evidence.

“The standard gambit then, as now, was that the health research implicating smoking was based only on statistics and not on medical observations. If a real cause and effect sequence from cigarette smoking inhalation to cancer could be shown, the industry cited, rather than all these statistics, that indeed would constitute proof” (Epstein, S.S. The Politics of Cancer. 1978:167).

All along, for more than 50 years, the cigarette industry knew that tobacco contains poison. It hid that fact from the consumers.

“In the 1990s lawsuits brought against the tobacco companies by 46 states force them to admit that smoking is dangerous and additive (addictive) and resulted in the release of millions of internal documents. These documents showed that the tobacco companies knowingly held all the research results and facts about polonium in tobacco leaves” (Melpor, Sept.10,2012, parenthetical supplied).

Earlier, Dr. Dean Ornish, MD had written that tobacco contains polonium (Ornish, D., MD. Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease. 1995). Likewise, Dr. Elmer Cranton, MD had warned of the presence of polonium 210 and lead 210 in tobacco (Cranton, E. MD and A. Brecher. Bypassing Bypass. 1984). In 1964, Wilma E. Hunt of the Harvard School of Public Health found polonium 210 in cigarette smoke, according to Melpor. Encyclopedia Britannica 2009 and Microsoft Encarta 2009 have entries on presence of polonium and lead in tobacco.

Decay products that decay

Polonium 210 and lead 210 are decay products of uranium 238 that yields uranium 235 used in making atomic bombs. These radioactive materials are found in the phosphate fertilizers used in growing tobacco. They are also found in the soil and air so that even if not applied with phosphate fertilizer the tobacco has a ready source.

Radiation, mutation, cancer

To attain stability a radioactive material goes through decay called tunnelling. Polonium 210 emits alpha particles and alpha radiation, a form of energy, through a barrier, the nucleus. Alpha particles tunnel through the nucleus. Radiation hits tissues like the DNA, the heredity material. DNA has a lot of hydrogen that consists of one proton and one electron. The hydrogen bond (like in water) joins the bases of DNA together but the joints are weak. Hydrogen has no nucleus so it is all the easier for radiation to hit its elements. The strength of the bond between hydrogen electron and proton is only 5% that of the ionic bond (of salt) or covalent bond (like iron), according to Tortora and associate in their book “Life Science.”

In the hydrogen bond, there is a potential energy barrier. In both sides of this barrier are potential wells. One is shallower than the other. The proton can tunnel to the shallower well when hit by radiation. When replication of DNA occurs while the proton is at the shallower well, the pairing between bases of DNA is compromised ( Aug. 26,2014)

That is, an error in copying of the original pairing occurs.

“The bases of DNA are the parts that hold the key to inheritance. The four bases are adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G), and cytosine (C). In the two strands of DNA, A is always complementary to (pairs with) T, and G is always complementary to C...During mitosis, the chromosomes are replicated by the unwinding and pulling apart (splitting) of the DNA strands, a new strand is formed alongside the old. The old strand serves as a template so that wherever an A occurs on the old strand, a T will be directly opposite it on the new, and wherever a C occurs on the old strand, a G will be placed on the new. Complementary bases pair with each other until two entire double-stranded molecules are formed where originally there was one” (Taylor T. E. and T. G. Field. Scientific Farm Animal Production. 1998:219-220, parenthetical supplied)

Tumor or cancer starts in one mitotic cell. That is, a cell that produces two daughter cells by a process called mitosis. There are four stages of mitosis. At the start is a rest period where a cell has 46 chromosomes. Next, each chromosome duplicates itself. Next, the duplicates unwind and pull apart. Then two sets of chromosomes come together resulting in two daughter cells, each containing 46 chromosomes. The hydrogen bond in the chromosomes are vulnerable to radiation during the splitting of duplicates. Copying error occurs.

Free radicals

The two electrons left behind by the emitted protons are free and unstable. To attain stability they grab other electrons of molecules of cells, among them the DNA, injuring it. Injured DNA results in tumor or cancer. The free unpaired electrons make polonium and lead free radicals.

Polonium 210 has a half life of 138.4 days; lead 210 has a half life of 22 years. That means a person who quits smoking now will have lead 210 in his body for 44 years more if lead 210 is not removed from his body. That may be a daunting prospect but an attainable objective in quitting smoking.

That is how cigarette initiate tumor or cancer and heart disease: smoke, radiation/free radicals, tumor or cancer.

Tumor and cancer start in one dividing (mitotic) cell only. A tumor that grows, breaches the cell matrix and escapes metastasizes resulting in cancer. Myoma is a tumor only.

Heart disease (or coronary artery disease) starts as benign tumor in the inner wall of the artery. This benign tumor is called atheroma that gathers bad cholesterol, elastin, collagen and other debris in an attempt to repair damage. Calcium comes in later as a cementing agent resulting in a mound or occlusion or plaque.This attempt at repair turns awry.

Remove or reduce

As reported, the cigarette companies will now have to remove or reduce the sources of radiation in tobacco leaves or mitigate their emission. To remove them is a difficult if not an impossible task. The reason is that lead and polonium stick to the leaves of tobacco.

There will be standards as to the amount of polonium left in the leaves for cigarette manufacture. One and one-half packs of cigarette puffed give radiation equivalent to 300 chest x-rays for one year, according to Melpor.

Tobacco chewed or smoked is always harmful. What additive or chemical can reduce or remove the radioactive materials that are not themselves harmful? Can sodium iodide from kelp do it?

A distant hope now a new reality

In 1978 yet, Dr. Samuel S. S. Epstein, MD advocated that the cigarette industry pay for diseases and be made responsible for deaths related to tobacco, to wit:

“Probably one of the most effective ways of decreasing the tobacco deal toll would be to make the industry pay for tobacco-caused cancer and other diseases, as well as other national costs” (Epstein, S.S., MD . The Politics of Cancer. 1978:173).

This advocacy was on the side of treatment and post-mortem. The new law signed by President Obama is more on the side of prevention. This approach is preferred to treatment or post-mortem. Dr. Epstein’s hopes might be now satisfied, as he said then:

“Perhaps what is needed now is a series of large successful lawsuits against the industry, still a distant hope” (Same source as above).

Re-open a forgotten lawsuit in 1950s

A case in court may be re-opened if there is (are) new evidence(s) related to the case. Take the case Green v. American Tobacco Co., filed, tried and decided upon in the 1950s. This was the time when only statistics were found to correlate smoking with cancer and no cause-and-effect relationship could be established. The cigarette industry knew that there are poisons in the cigarette that they hid from the public. Even the courts did not know about the radioactive materials in tobacco, assuming that Wilma E. Hunt was the first one to reveal this fact in 1964 (Melpor. Sept.10,2012). Let’s take a short backgrounder on the case:

In 1956, Edwin Green got sick of lung cancer “after smoking Lucky Strikes for thirty years” (Epstein, S.S., MD . The Politics of Cancer. 1978:173). At first, a jury decided in favor of the cigarette company. Now dead, Green’s heirs appealed the decision. The second jury said, the Luckies were “reasonably fit for consumption." If it took some 20 to 30 years for Green to contract cancer from smoking Luckies, it must be safe, said one juror. This juror quit smoking after giving this share to the verdict.

[Dr. Epstein said cancer takes 10 years as a gestation period. I have a Hub "How X-rays and Free Radicals in Cigarette Smoke, Not Tar, Cause Cancer and Heart Disease"]

Not satisfied with the above decision, the heirs of Green went for another jury, who ruled:

“We are now left in no substantial doubt that under Florida law the decedent was entitled to rely on the implied assurance that the Lucky Strike cigarettes were wholesome and fi t for the purpose intended and that under the facts found by the jury [his widow is] entitled to hold the manufacturers absolutely liable for the injuries already found by a prior jury to have been sustained by him” (Same source as above).

If Green’s heirs thought they had reasons to celebrate, their triumph was short-lived. The above decision was reversed by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court that decided in favor of the American Tobacco. This ruling came in April 1969.

I have not updated myself on this case. However, two salient points stand out. The courts were of no help to the consumers. The courts were blinded on the facts of radioactive materials in tobacco.

If this case is still gathering cobwebs and the heirs of Green are still alive and interested in it, the public revelation on the presence of polonium in tobacco gives the green light for its re-opening. That cigarette contains polonium is a new evidence. That satisfies the requirement for the re-opening of a case in court. A cause-and-effect relationship between cigarette smoke and cancer for Edwin Green can now be established.

This is similar to the 27,000 lawsuits filed against the Merck company for its pain reliever, Vioxx. Merck withdrew Vioxx from the market in 2004 when it found out in its own trials that Vioxx doubled the risk of heart disease and stroke from continuous use for 18 months. However, the drug had already been sold worldwide. Merck reportedly spent some US$4.84 billion to settle complaints and litigation (individual not class) arising from this pain reliever.

Each claimant (or proxy) had to prove his/her case like showing with an official receipt of when and how many tablets s/he bought and took, and that the drug definitely caused the disease or death.


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