(Access to Coverage of Tobacco Treatment In Our Nation)
Shaping Policies | Improving Health
October 3, 2011 Scientists at UCLA have examined millions of previously secret internal records from the tobacco industry looking for clues as to how they handled potential health concerns regarding cigarette smoke. From these documents, it was revealed that the presence of a radioactive isotope polonium 210 in tobacco and its associated increase in lung cancer risk from smoking was common knowledge among top industry executives as early as 1964. The reports showed that tobacco companies not only failed to inform consumers of the risk of smoking, but also refused to take action to reduce the radioactive potential. The tobacco industry had detailed knowledge of the presence of radioactive substances as early as 1959. They were also aware of an acid washing process by which the radioactive potential of cigarette smoke could be dramatically reduced, significantly lowering cancer risk, but they did not adopt the technique because they were worried that it would reduce the addictive potential of nicotine.
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