Friday, July 2, 2010

Medical Controversy: Cigarettes and Cancer

So now it's no longer controversial - smoking is closely linked to cancer. Not every smoker will get lung cancer but their chances are much higher than they are for non-smokers. And it's easy to tell why smoking is bad for you right? All those chemicals, all that tar, and the noxious fumes and gases right?

The question of the day sounds simple. How does smoking cigarettes cause cancer?

Well one theory making the rounds is that it's because of radioactivity. You heard me right - radioactivity in cigarettes. The non-scientific group that seems to push this theory the most is the pro-cannabis lobby. They like to show that smoking cannabis is less dangerous than smoking cigarettes. Any time there is a theory that shows that smoking tobacco is bad for you in a way that smoking cannabis may not be they jump on it.

Sol Lightman, in UMASS CANNABIS wrote how the hidden danger in cigarettes is radioactive material in cigarettes. The article pushes the idea that most cancers due to smoking are caused by radioactivity.

This view is disputed. Certainly the number of chemical carcinogens seems to make it hard to reach a hypothesis that only the radioactivity is bad for you. I don't think many researchers in the field would say that smoking would be safe if you could remove the radioactive compounds.

Still... did you even know there are radioactive compounds in cigarettes?

Radioactivity is a scary word for many people. Which is odd since we live in a radioactive world. Not just since the atomic age opened. Our world is slightly radioactive. It's all around us. In fact there may be more of it around you than you ever thought.

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