Urban Myth on Smoking and Cancer –
Ask yourself why the United Stated Government has spent more than $10B dollars subsidizing Tobacco since 1964 when in that year the surgeon general released the report on Smoking and Health. Why would the government continue to support an industry that is killing off its people, costing millions per year in healthcare costs, and is mired in class actions lawsuits regarding their culpability in people’s own decision making process? Here is the ugly truth. It’s called hush money.
In late 1950’s and early 1960’s at the height of the cold war, both Russian and US scientists working for their defense departments were racing to create nuclear weapons of mass destruction that would kill but in large leave infrastructure intact. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_bomb)
United States Testing was authorized and carried out in 1963 at an underground Nevada test facility. It is believed that besides the United States and Soviet Union, France and China tested neutron or enhanced radiation bombs in the past. France apparently led the field with an early “successful” test of the technology in 1967.
Enhanced radiation, as if regular radiation poisoning weren’t enough, had the desired side effect, Radiation poisoning death. But what they didn’t anticipate was that the underground “containment” could not limit the effects to the test area. From 1963 to 1967 governments were releasing hazardous Cancer causing radiation into the environment. Much like the plume of a volcano that will cover the entire atmosphere with a thin layer of ash, these tests produced a layer of radiation that would cover the earth for years. This “enhanced” radiation by its very nature has the potential to impact cancer rates years after release until it dissipated. It is particularly aggressive with sensitive lung tissue, but also can be attributed to increases in Breast, Thyroid and Skin Cancer.
The government had to find a scape goat, something ubiquitous that a large portion of the population had in common. SMOKING! In the 1960’s it is estimated that 70% of the adult population smoked tobacco in some form, cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe. It was assumed that the couple of generations of people directly exposed while the layer of radiation was airborne would be the end of the story so an unholy alliance was created between the Tabacco industry and the government. The government met with the industry leaders of the 1960’s explained what was happening and promised to take care of the industry for the 20 or so years they expected the layer of radiation to last. In typical 1960’s jingoistic anti-communism fashion the industry execs agreed as long as they would get compensated for the lost revenue due to less smokers.
The government’s plan seemed to be working, the layer of radiation dissipated in just over 22 years and the rate of smokers also declined by over 30%. But then the unthinkable happened. Cancer rates didn’t decline as predicted. During that 20+ year period much research on the effects of radiation were conducted and the wrinkle in the plan became apparent. The mutated cells damaged through exposure to radiation are passed from father to son and can continue for a couple of generations.
Our results show that radiation-induced instability can be transmitted for at least two generations
Professor Yuri Dubrova
Now what was the government going to do? They were on the hook with Tobacco industry execs and now the cover story as people stopped smoking and cancer rates didn’t drop was falling apart. Someone had to do something. That someone was the EPA. In 1991 they coined the phrase “Second Hand Smoke”. Now, we can still blame tobacco even though the people getting cancer didn’t smoke.
Don’t expect the cancer rates to drop even if everyone stops smoking. The children of the 1960’s were having babies into the 2000’s so if the trend of having children later in life continues, the 2nd generation will be continue to be born for the net 20+ years. Cancer is very much a disease of aging. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), 60 percent of newly diagnosed malignancies are found in people over the age of 65. That same age group shoulders 70 percent of cancer deaths. Overall, the elderly are 10 times more likely to get cancer, and 15 times more likely to die from cancer than are people under the age of 65. With all this in mind the mistaken release of Enhanced radiation in the 1960’s can continue to impact cancer rates for up to 85 more years.
Truly the sins of the fathers are passed on to their sons and in this instance at least a couple of generations.