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Radioactivity of tobacco trichomes and insoluble cigarette smoke particles


Airborne 210Pb is concentrated on small Aitken particles which accumulate on tobacco trichomes. Tobacco curing and the combustion of trichomes in burning cigarettes produce insoluble particles of high 210Pb radioactivity which are inhaled and deposited in the bronchi of smokers. The subsequent ingrowth of 210Po results in high local a irradiation which may account for bronchial cancer among smokers.

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Martell, E. Radioactivity of tobacco trichomes and insoluble cigarette smoke particles. Nature 249, 215–217 (1974).

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