To the average person who has limited knowledge of science, the word radioactive implies danger in a very strange way. We have always been taught to stay clear of radioactive materials and waste products, since they have the potential to cause severe damage to the human body. This is why every time a product is associated with radioactivity of any sort, our internal warning meters go off the charts. No consumer would want to pay for a product that is even remotely linked to radioactivity. This is where cigarettes and e-cigarettes come into play. One of the two has a connection to radioactivity. Which one is it? Let’s discover.
The Harmful Contents of Cigarette Smoke:
Everybody in the world is well aware of the fact that there are a number of different toxins and other harmful ingredients contained within cigarette smoke. According to a report published by the American Lung Association, cigarette smoke contains about 7,000 known chemicals. Out of these 7,000, there are numerous potential health hazards. Some of these include lead, arsenic, tar, acetone and a bunch of others. What is really concerning is that cigarette smoke could actually be radioactive. This is something that takes the danger of smoking to a whole new level.
The Presence of Radioactive Polonium and Lead:
In the United States alone, there are about 53 million smokers. That is approximately one sixth of the population and includes both adult and teen smokers. This means that one in six individuals is vulnerable to being exposed to radioactivity in the United States. As staggering and bizarre as it sounds, this assumption is absolutely correct as cigarettes have the potential to contain radioactive material. What determines the radioactivity levels in cigarette smoke? It all depends on what kind of soil the tobacco has been grown in and the kind of fertilizers that have been used to augment the growth of tobacco. A number of different brands manufacturer cigarettes by using tobacco leaves that contain lead- 210 and polonium- 210. Both of these elements are radioactive.
How Tobacco Leaves Become Radioactive:
Let us take a look at how tobacco leaves get “infected” with radioactivity. If the tobacco grows in a soil that contains a high concentration of radium, then it will be exposed to higher levels of radon gas. The radon gas is unstable. Thus, it decays into a number of different solid materials that are known to be highly radioactive. Some of the solid substances attach themselves to contaminants in the air. Eventually, they end up landing on the surface of tobacco leaves. Since the radioactive substances are not water soluble, washing the tobacco leaves or leaving them uncovered in the rain will not wash away the undesired and potentially harmful deposits on the leaves. Lead-210 and polonium-210 are two of the most common sticky, radioactive substances that get stuck to the tobacco leaves. Even after the tobacco leaves are processed and turned into ground tobacco, traces of the radioactive lead and polonium can be found in the final product. In other words, cigarettes that you are purchasing and smoking everyday are turning into the carriers of radioactive material from the soil.
As mentioned before, the threat does not only come from the soil. The fertilizers too can make tobacco leaves even more unsafe than they already are. Phosphate fertilizers are very commonly used in the tobacco industry. The problem with these fertilizers (regardless of how efficient they might be at growing crops) is that they contain radium. The radium decays into radioactive products. As more and more phosphate fertilizer is spread over the soil, the radioactivity of the environment gets higher and higher.
E-Liquid Is Not Radioactive:
E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco. Instead, they are filled with e-liquids that have no relation to tobacco leaves whatsoever. The use of e-liquid inhalation will not expose you to the radioactivity that you are getting from cigarette smoke. There is also no tar to trap potential health hazards in the lungs. The vapour that comes out of e-liquids is much healthier than the horrendous cigarette smoke that people are breathing in every single day. By switching over to e-cigarettes, you are practically diminishing your chances of being exposed to radioactive materials.
Radioactive Exposure Can Kill:
Radioactive exposure is not something that should be taken lightly. According to the American Cancer Society, if you are exposed to radon for a prolonged period of time, then you will become more vulnerable to developing lung cancer. Did you know that radon gas is the second biggest cause of lung cancer deaths in the United States after cigarette smoke? Given that radon gas is found within cigarette smoke, turning into a tobacco addict will significantly raise your chances of becoming next in the line of victims of lung cancer.