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Radiation doses due to smoking different types of tobacco leaves grown in Turkey

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The activity concentrations of 238U, 232Th, 40 K and 137Cs radionuclides in 25 samples of tobacco leaves grown in Turkey have been measured using a high purity co-axial germanium detector. The measured activity concentrations for 238U ranged from 3.6 to 22.5 Bq kg−1 with an average of 9.8 Bq kg−1, for 232Th from 0.8 to 11.0 Bq kg−1 with an average of 2.4 Bq kg−1, and for 40 K from 360.3 to 1,479.5 Bq kg−1 with an average of 810.0 Bq kg−1. The concentrations of 137Cs, the residue of fallout from the Chernobyl reactor accident, were found to range from 0.2 to 2.1 Bq kg−1 with an average of 0.5 Bq kg−1. The results indicate that the average activity concentrations of 238U and 232Th lie within the range of measured values worldwide, whereas for 40 K the average was found to be higher. The average annual effective radiation doses from the inhalation of the corresponding tobacco smoke by an adult smoking 20 cigarettes per day was deduced to be 93.3 μSv y−1 for 238U, 193.2 μSv y−1 for 232Th, 5.6 μSv y−1 for 40 K, and 292.1 μSv y−1 in total. The average annual effective dose from 137Cs was calculated to be 8.5 nSv y−1. The resulting average annual effective radiation doses of 0.3 mSv due to the inhalation of natural radiation sources in tobacco were compared with studies worldwide and found much smaller than the worldwide average effective dose of 1.26 mSv. It is concluded that smoking may contribute a non-negligible fraction to the annual effective dose depending on cigarette consumption and activity concentration in tobacco. This study is the first in which natural and anthropogenic radioactivity in tobacco in Turkey was measured. Therefore, it is considered as a baseline study. Further studies are needed to investigate the role of tobacco refinement in the observed reduction of 238U concentration of refined tobacco.

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This work was supported by the Istanbul University BAP Grant number 32235. The authors would like to thank TAPDK under the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for giving permission with document number 22710 to provide the tobacco samples, and SOCOTAB Yaprak Tutun Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. for providing the tobacco samples.

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GA and NH contributed to sample preparation, measurement and data analysis. GA wrote the first draft. LS and EG contributed to the interpretation of the results and the discussion. EG was involved in reviewing and editing the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ela Ganioğlu.

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Ağgez, G., Ganioğlu, E., Sahin, L. et al. Radiation doses due to smoking different types of tobacco leaves grown in Turkey. Radiat Environ Biophys 61, 615–622 (2022).

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