An assessment of radioactivity levels of 210Pb and 40K in tobacco and radiation exposure from smoking

Tomohiro Nagamatsu, Akihiro Sakoda, Takahiro Kataoka, Toshiro Ono, Kiyonori Yamaoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


No research has been conducted on the radiation influence of tobacco on the alimentary system, although there have been some previous works on the respiratory system. In this study, the radioactive concentrations of 210Pb and 40K in a cigarette sample were first measured. The transfer factors of the nuclides from tobacco into smoke and solution (saliva and/or alcohol) were then examined. Moreover, the radiation doses from smoke inhalation were also evaluated. The radioactive concentrations of 210Pb and 40K in the cigarette tobacco were 0.01 and 0.3 Bq/cigarette. Since this 210Pb activity and the 210Po activity previously reported for the same sample were comparable, it can be concluded that there was a radioactive equilibrium between the 2 nuclides. The observed transfer factor of 210Pb (12%) into smoke was almost the same as that of 40K (15%), whereas the reported value for 210Po (60%) was significantly higher. The radiation doses due to inhalation of cigarette smoke varied from organ to organ, depending on the organotropic properties of the nuclide. For example, the kidneys, respiratory tract, and spleen showed relatively high doses from 210Pb and 210Po. The leaching rates indicated an inconsistent tendency related to solution types. This result could suggest that alcohol drinking, which is common in smokers, does not especially enhance the leaching characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-95
Number of pages5
JournalActa medica Okayama
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 12 2011


  • Intake
  • Radiation exposure
  • Radionuclides
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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