Smokin with Litvinenko and Lehrer
Although this isn't really "new" news, it seems to be getting attention again. Back in late November of 2006, KGB agent Alexander V. Litvinenko died of ingesting the radioactive isotope Polonium 210. Here's the fun part: we all have been! Cigarettes contain Polonium 210, along with cyanide, tar, etc. According to the New York Times, the average smoker inhales enough every year to dose them with about 300 chest x-rays worth of radiation. Fun times. And according to Detroit Drug Policy Examiner Bruce Cain, ex-Surgeon General C. Everett Coop (yes, the guy from the Life Alert commercials) stated that it is this radiation that is responsible for the cancer deaths the majority of the time.
Now, I pride myself in not being a school marm. If you want to smoke, smoke! It's your given right of free will, you should do what you want. The government doesn't have any right to tell the individual what to do. My problem is this: the tobacco companies have known for over 50 years, have a way of reducing the isotopes in the cigarettes, and mindfully choose to do nothing. Granted, I'm a big ol' socialist, but we really aren't going to do anything about them?
Without further ado, as promised here is Tom Lehrer's "Elements Song". It makes dieing from wanton social irresponsibility funny!
Puffing on Polonium - NY Times (December 2006)
The Examiner: Marijuana, tobacco and Obama (Bruce Cain, Drug Policy Examiner, Detroit)