Third-hand smoking dangers

This video is called Quit Smoking.

From the Massachusetts General Hospital in the USA:

Third-hand smoke: Another reason to quit smoking

Adults who recognize dangers of third-hand smoke more likely to ban smoking at home

Need another reason to add “Quit Smoking” to your New Year’s resolutions list? How about the fact that even if you choose to smoke outside of your home or only smoke in your home when your children are not there – thinking that you’re keeping them away from second-hand smoke – you’re still exposing them to toxins? In the January issue of Pediatrics, researchers at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and colleagues across the country describe how tobacco smoke contamination lingers even after a cigarette is extinguished – a phenomenon they define as “third-hand” smoke. Their study is the first to examine adult attitudes about the health risks to children of third-hand smoke and how those beliefs may relate to rules about smoking in their homes.

“When you smoke – anyplace – toxic particulate matter from tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothing,” says lead study author, Jonathan Winickoff, MD, MPH, assistant director of the MGHfC Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy. “When you come into contact with your baby, even if you’re not smoking at the time, she comes in contact with those toxins. And if you breastfeed, the toxins will transfer to your baby in your breastmilk.” Winickoff notes that nursing a baby if you’re a smoker is still preferable to bottle-feeding, however.

Particulate matter from tobacco smoke has been proven toxic. According to the National Toxicology Program, these 250 poisonous gases, chemicals, and metals include hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, butane, ammonia, toluene (found in paint thinners), arsenic, lead, chromium (used to make steel), cadmium (used to make batteries), and polonium-210 (highly radioactive carcinogen). Eleven of the compounds are classified as Group 1 carcinogens, the most dangerous.

Small children are especially susceptible to third-hand smoke exposure because they can inhale near, crawl and play on, or touch and mouth contaminated surfaces. Third-hand smoke can remain indoors even long after the smoking has stopped. Similar to low-level lead exposure, low levels of tobacco particulates have been associated with cognitive deficits among children, and the higher the exposure level, the lower the reading score. These findings underscore the possibility that even extremely low levels of these compounds may be neurotoxic and, according to the researchers, justify restricting all smoking in indoor areas inhabited by children.

“The dangers of third-hand smoke are very real,” says Winickoff, who is a professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics‘ Richmond Center. “Our goal was to find out if people who were aware of these harmful effects were less likely to smoke inside of their home.”

The harmful effects of exposure to tobacco smoke have been known for many years. Cigarette and cigar smokers are at significantly higher risk of contracting all sorts of respiratory maladies, and research linking secondhand smoke to cancer goes back nearly three decades. But what about the chemicals that stain the walls, ceilings, carpet and upholstery in rooms in which tobacco has been smoked? What about the lingering nicotine on the fingers of smokers? Is there something dangerous in the residue that lingers long after the smoke clears? Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati have found more evidence of the potentially harmful effects of exposure to the residue and particles left behind by tobacco smoke: here.

Study: Smoking may worsen malnutrition in developing nations: here.

16 thoughts on “Third-hand smoking dangers

  1. Ireland’s main cigarette brands claimed that a tobacco advertising ban
    could plunge the country into disaster by sparking a deadly fusion of
    Marxists and the IRA.

    Cigarette manufacturers argued with former Taoiseach jack Lynch that it
    would cut back on their sales, leaving them less money to create new
    employment in other non-tobacco industries.

    “They saw the dangers that if employment was not provided for our
    growing young population, there could be a fusion between Marxism and
    the IRA, with disastrous effects for the country,” the minutes of the
    meeting state.


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