All that’s missing is the polonium 210

Benzene
Finally our angle on the radiation-induced murder of Alexander Litvinenko: the U.K.’s Department of Health has pulled an ad from its “Smoke Is Poison” campaign because it points out that cigarettes contain trace amounts of polonium 210, the allegedly rare substance that killed Litvinenko. The department deemed the polonium ads “inappropriate,” but, sheesh, what could be scarier than knowing you were willfully inhaling the same stuff that turned a robust, intriguing, international Russian spy with a lot of hair into a bald dead man within a matter of weeks? (Other ads in the campaign talking about cigarette contents such as formaldehyde and benzene will continue to run and can be seen here.) One keepsake from the pulled effort: an ad which the department ran on beer coasters which read, “Where do you find polonium? In cigarettes.” So far, none have shown up on eBay, though we did find this nifty polonium detector, available for the “Buy It Now” price of $244.99.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor