September 30, 2011

Tobacco Companies Put Radioactive Substance Into Cigarettes, Covered It Up

Phil Villarreal, writing for Consumerist:

"Newly analyzed historical documents reveal that tobacco companies have known for decades that cigarettes contain polonium-210, a radioactive material, and covered up its own studies that found their products caused cancerous growths in smokers' lungs.

ABC News reports University of Southern California researchers reviewed the documents and found that, over 25 years, the radiation in their products caused 138 deaths for every 1,000 smokers."

Does this surprise anyone?

The trouble with tobacco products has always been two-fold. First, and most obviously, is the fact that legitimate business is allowed to continue in the trafficking of a known, dangerous substance that possesses no redeeming value. If food, beverages, pharmaceuticals or other ingestibles with so many well-known, life-threatening consequences were permitted for sale with as little regulation as tobacco products enjoy today, there would be mass outrage among the populace.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act doesn't have enough teeth. If it did, the remaining American tobacco companies would be relocating off-shore and their product would be unavailable for import or sale in the United States. Tobacco farmers would be researching soybean futures.

Second, of course, is that there are so many willfully ignorant people on the receiving end of the tobacco business. Which explains the lack of outrage, I guess.