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CHEMICAL AND RADIOACTIVE CARCINOGENS IN CIGARETTES: ASSOCIATED HEALTH IMPACTS AND RESPONSES OF THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY, U.S. CONGRESS, AND FEDERAL REGULATORY AGENCIES

Moeller, Dade W.*; Sun, Lin-Shen C.

doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e3181df5439
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210Po and 210Pb were discovered in tobacco in 1964. This was followed by detailed assessments of the nature of their deposition, and accompanying dose rates to the lungs of cigarette smokers. Subsequent studies revealed: (1) the sources and pathways through which they gain access to tobacco; (2) the mechanisms through which they preferentially deposit in key segments of the bronchial epithelium; and (3) the fact that the accompanying alpha radiation plays a synergistic role in combination with the chemical carcinogens, to increase the fatal cancer risk coefficient in cigarette smokers by a factor of 8 to 25. Nonetheless, it was not until 2009 that Congress mandated that the Food and Drug Administration require that the cigarette industry reveal the presence of these carcinogens. In the meantime, cigarette smoking has become not only the number one source of cancer deaths in the United States, but also a major contributor to heart disease and other health impacts. If the latter effects are included, smoking is estimated to have caused an average of 443,000 deaths and 5.1 million years of potential life lost among the U.S. population each year from 2000 through 2004. The estimated associated collective dose is more than 36 times that to the workers at all the U.S. nuclear power plants, U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons facilities, and crews of all the vessels in the U.S. Nuclear Navy. This unnecessary source of lung cancer deaths demands the utmost attention of the radiation protection and public health professions.

* Dade Moeller & Associates, Inc., 1321 McCarthy Blvd, #312, New Bern, NC 28562; 623 Congressional Lane, #203, Rockville, MD 20582.

For correspondence contact: D. W. Moeller, Dade Moeller & Associates, Inc., 1321 McCarthy Blvd, #312, New Bern, NC 28562, or email at dademoeller4x@cconnect.net.

(Manuscript accepted 23 March 2010)

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