Radioactive Cigarettes

Phillip Morris U.S.A. Inter-Office Correspondence Regarding Radioactive Cigarettes

Internal Phillip Morris Memo:
TO: Dr. T.S. Osdene
FROM: R.A. Comes
SUBJECT: "Newscript" - Radioactive Cigarettes 2/22/80

Summary of Image
Page One -- Response to "Newscript" article attributed to Dr. E. Martell
Radioactive elements are present in tobacco smoke
Alpha particles may contribute to lung cancers
Recommendation to use ammonium phosphate is probably valid but expensive
[click on image to enlarge to full size -- 21K]

Summary of Image
Page Two
Martell particles
Soluable polonium is however a different story
Complexities raised by relatively simple statements
[click on image to enlarge to full size -- 20K]


BACKGROUND NOTE: This confidential Philip Morris document admits the presence of radioactive polonium-210 and lead-210 in the smoke of their commercial cigarettes. It explains that this is because there is crushed up uranium rock contained in the fertilizer they use on their tobacco plants. The document says that the problem could be remedied by changing to another type of fertilizer but that is "probably a valid but expensive point."


"210- Pb and 210 -Po are present intobacco and smoke."

..."For alpha particles from Po-210 to be the cause of lung cancers in unlikely due to the amount of radioactivity of a particular energy necessary of induction. Evidence to date, however, does not allow one to state this is an impossibility."

...The soluble 210-Po is that which one would expect to be cleared by normal physiological processes. [translation: you can cough out the radioactive polinium 210].

Search Tip: this document (and others relating to it) can also be found by doing a search on the PM site using the keywords "radioactive cigarettes."

Anne Landman
American Lung Association of Colorado, West Region Office
Grand Junction

Type of document: Confidential Philip Morris internal memorandum, on company letterhead
Author: R.A.Comes
Date: April 2, 1980
Title: Newscript: "Radioactive cigarettes" 2/22/80
Site: Philip Morris document site:


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