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Quit Smoking To Eliminate “Third-Hand Smoke”

    March 21, 2014
    Toni Matthews-El
    Comments are off for this post.

In the ongoing campaign against smoking, the typical approach is to discourage individuals from smoking in one of two ways.

The first option involves detailing how the habit affects the smoker’s body directly and the ways smoking may seriously harm or kill you.

The second push to quit smoking generally involves passive smoking or second-hand smoke exposure and how dangerous it is to others. The fear of second-hand smoke is what largely led to smoking being banned from many indoor locations across the United States.

Now a new concern is garnering increasing exposure: third-hand smoke.

Unlike second-hand smoke which is often inhaled involuntarily, third-hand exposure is created when the smoke clings to walls and furniture, coating them with a substance that is believed to be highly toxic. Those most at risk of third hand smoke exposure are often very young children.

Researchers find that certain chemicals in cigarette smoke linger in a room long after the last cigarette has been put out. These substances are said to react with indoor pollutants and create brand new and harmful compounds.

Noxious residue or NNA is one residue created by this reaction. NNA is thought to coat all surfaces in the area. For smoking parents or relatives with young children around them, this means their toys are very likely covered with this residue.

As toddlers and infants are very prone towards putting things into their mouths, there is concern this may mean NNA-coated toys and other objects. This means their own hands could be a risk factor due to the skin’s exposure to NNA-coated floors, walls, and other surfaces.

Dr. Bo Hang of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that the substance sticks to human DNA. This has the potential to lead to the development of cancerous tumors.

Even though smoking has been pushed out of many public places, not much can be done to protect toddlers from third-hand exposure that typically occurs in the homes of smokers.

According to Hang, third smoke exposure is especially difficult to eliminate, but not impossible. Furniture would need to be replaced, carpets removed, and walls repainted. Vacuuming, washing clothes and bedding, and keeping curtains clean can also help.

Hang hopes he and his team of researchers can eventually detect which persons have been exposed to third-hand smoke.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • Jim

    blah, blah, blah. Our founding fathers farmed tobacco. Without that our country would not be! Now, let’s come around and say it is all bad, when it got us here. I realize it is bad, but without it, we not have a country

  • carolrhill814

    It is truely sad how many people are effected by cigarette smoking and people still dying and being harmed other ways by second and third hand smoke.
    Me personally speaking lost most of my hearing in my right ear and part of my hearing in my left ear from secondary smoke starting at the age of approximately twelve (12).
    My father smoked around me as well as my ex-husband.
    I never realized I was not hearing because over time I learned to read lips until one day I had to clear my ear and I got this burning pain and I went to the doctor. He looked into my right ear and saw black wax that I couldn’t get to. It took three days to losen the wax but he warned me that it was sitting on my ear drum and when he was going to pull out the wax it would remove the important hairs and scratch my ear drum and I would have loss of hearing and I do at times it feels like there is a sock in my ear at times because I am so deaf but other times I can hear a little and I am not so uncomfortable.

    • Reality

      I’m truly sorry about your hearing loss, but I highly doubt cigarettes had anything to do with it, unless you sat still and let them blow smoke directly in your ear. You really do need a new Doctor, I’m not being a smarty pants here. You need to see a real professional, that’s about the lamest diagnosis I’ve ever heard !! P.S. An ear professional does not “pull” anything from your ear, it is loosened and flushed. Never pulled. May take weeks, but you’ve been misdiagnosed and mistreated.

  • Reality

    Ok….really?? I soo ‘get it’ that people need to stop smoking. I am a long time former smoker. It was very hard, but I did it years ago. On the other hand I do not go around chastising others that do smoke. Third Hand Smoke??? Oh please. If people put this much energy into stopping drinkers from getting on the road, or God forbid finding a cure for cancer we’d all be a whole lot better off than this garbage !! Put your energy and $$ where it’s really needed, not a new horror story on smoking. If you smoke outside, (which is banned in a whole lot of places also…. ridiculous) it doesn’t hurt a thing but the smoker, and that is your business?? How?????? Oh my bad, those smokers are causing global warming too !!! Where has common sense gone??