It’s not the smoke that causes harm, but the radioactive chemical fertilizers.
The alpha emitters polonium-210 and lead-210 are highly concentrated on tobacco trichomes and insoluble particles in cigarette smoke (1). The major source of the polonium is phosphate fertilizer, which is used in growing tobacco. The trichomes of the leaves concentrate the polonium, which persists when tobacco is dried and processed. … The detrimental effects of tobacco smoke have been considerably underestimated, making it less likely that chemical carcinogens alone are responsible for the observed incidence of tobacco-related carcinoma. Alpha emitters in cigarette smoke result in appreciable radiation exposure to the bronchial epithelium of smokers and probably secondhand smokers. Alpha radiation is a possible etio- logic factor in tobacco-related carcinoma, and it deserves further study (Thomas H. Winters, M.D. and Joseph R. Di Franza, M.D.).
Po210 is the only component in cigarette smoke tar that has produced cancers by itself in laboratory animals as a result of inhalation exposure (Beverly S. Cohen, Ph.D. and Naomi H. Harley, Ph.D.).
The major tobacco manufacturers discovered that polonium was part of tobacco and tobacco smoke more than 40 years ago and attempted, but failed, to remove this radioactive substance from their products. Internal tobacco industry documents reveal that the companies suppressed publication of their own internal research to avoid heightening the public’s awareness of radioactivity in cigarettes. Tobacco companies continue to minimize their knowledge about polonium-210 in cigarettes in smoking and health litigation. Cigarette packs should carry a radiation-exposure warning label.
Organic fertilizers only have background levels of radioactivity. The implication of this information is that it the radioactive chemical fertilizer producers – not the tobacco producers, the cannabis producers or the hookah lounge owners or cannabis vapour lounge owners – that the police should be going after, if their concern about protecting the public from harm is to be believed.
For more details on this interesting topic, check out the radioactivity debate in the Cannabis Culture forum.