Smokers in Japan are in for a bit of an eye-opener about their already unhealthy habit: Japan Tobacco Inc. has stated that some of its dried tobacco leaves coming from Fukushima Prefecture this year tested positive for radioactive cesium at levels above the 100 becquerels per kilogram limit. While this shouldn’t cause a panic, as the tobacco conglomerate will cancel the order for the 4.5 tons of leaves, but would it really have been that much worse if some cigarettes, which already cause cancer, had some radiation thrown in too?
After last years tsunami severely damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant, releasing large amounts of radiation into the environment, the harvesting of tobacco leaves from parts of the prefecture was halted. Japan Tobacco says that leaves grown in most areas have regularly tested with “safe” levels of Radioactive cesium, but recent sample checks found tobacco from three farms in the city of Shirakawa that measured with 110.7 becquerels.
The cigarette maker has iterated that this is the first time in their inspections that they have found leaves testing above the limit. Japan Tobacco adds that sample checks of product from other areas of the disaster-hit region, including the prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate, Yamagata, Ibaraki, and Tochigi, have been found to be safe. The company states it will continue its inspections at three stages, including before the commercial processing of tobacco.