There's an article in todays New York Times about cooktop smoking which has alleviated some fears I had about smoking, but could not find scientific answers for (my thread on cookshack.com resulted in some funny, but not-quite-the-answer-I-was-looking-for responses).
As someone who recently purchased an electric smoking oven and has been turning out great briskets, beef ribs, salmon and black cod on a regular basis, I was concerned about the possibility of there being carcinogenic agents infiltrating my smoked foods.
The article in today's NYT gives me the go-ahead to eat home-smoked foods to my gut's content. To quote from Dana Bowen's piece:
"Smoking doesn’t generate the levels of carcinogenic chemicals that “are concentrated when there are fats and higher temperatures,” said Barry Swanson, professor of food science and nutrition at Washington State University. Other research has found that levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a hazardous component of smoke, are minimal if wood smolders (as it does in stovetop smoking), and doesn’t flame."
Here's the whole article. It includes some great recipes.