I do wonder how they cool the tube head. If they don't do it at all, I don't think device lifetime will be that long.
Luckily x-rays have pretty limited range. I think 5m/yd should be minimal safe distance. The further the better, of course.
Once all 7 billion people have access to professionals then maybe we can ask this question?
X-Rays were used for years to find peoples shoes size at shoes stores and no one was harmed.
We have a lot more info on correct use now, so don't see the problem....
Other than amateurs need to do professionals job in this current world and the professional are commonly fighting back to stop the greater good to keep their wages high.
Handheld backscatter x-ray scanner HBI-120:
While this might be the most powerful handheld one(don't know, didn't verify the authors claims), there certainly are already portable commercial scanners available.
And one final thought - anywhere that has 1) smuggling problems, and 2) very intermittent power will also almost certainly have high levels of corruption. Getting scanners into the hands of backwater security personnel means nothing if they only need a few packs of the smuggled cigarettes to not even turn them on.
1 not at all people that live in poor countries (have smuggling and intermittent power) are amoral - some of them actually believe in the project of nation building! therefore these cheap handheld detection devices would in fact not "mean nothing".
2 no one accepts cigarettes (or blue jeans or sony walkmen or whatever else your imagine) as payment anywhere outside of out movies. they take local currency or dollar or euro. many smugglers are just as poor as the border patrol they hope to evade so in fact they would be "turned in" for lack of bribe money if caught by one of these devices.
2) I've literally bribed people with cigarettes(and dollars, and booze, and clothing). So your categorical statement is incorrect. I was mostly just going along with the analogy though.
Not everyone is in the West.
As to my situation, many countries have underfunded enforcement agencies, I'm mainly looking into tobacco taxation as a nonprofit intervention but illicit trade with smuggling being a part of that erodes the efficacy of such interventions, and if there was a cheap way to equip law enforcement with the means to identify illicit products being smuggled, then there may be a financial case to purchase them on their behalf
I know of a lot of smuggling that will generally be unbribeable if caught, like human, ivory, or drug smuggling.
Very interesting invention though.