Thirdhand Smoke: Why is it Dangerous?

Posted on In Articles, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

From the previous article (The Danger of Secondhand Smoke for Children), we already discussed the danger of second-hand smoke to children. 

We know that second-hand smoke (SHS) is smoke that comes from tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes or the smoke that has exhaled, or breathed out, by the person smoking which then is being inhaled by the non-smokers which makes them be passive smokers.

Second-hand smoke has a bad impact on our society.  However, there is another thing that has the same bad impact on our society, it is “third-hand smoke”.


What is the Third-hand Smoke?

Third-hand smoke is a term to describe the potentially cancer-causing compounds that form when tobacco smoke particles mix with gases in the air, absorbing into nearby surfaces, like carpets, rugs, clothes, bedsheets, wall paint, car dashboards, and even toys.

That is the reason why tobacco is one of the indoor air pollutants due to third-hand smoke that can be absorbed into carpets, rugs, furniture, and wall paint.


Is Third-hand Smoke dangerous to children?

Babies, toddlers, and children are at greater risk of negative health effects because they inhale 40 times more than adults. According to the articles “Nicotine on Children’s Hands: Limited Protection of Smoking Bans and Initial Clinical Findings”, Children whose caregivers smoked five or fewer cigarettes per day had an average of about 55 ng nicotine on their hands, while children whose caregivers smoked 15 or more per day were found to have an average of 124 ng nicotine on their hands.

Where do we expose to Third-hand Smoke

Unfortunately, if you are a non-smoker and none of your family is a smoker, your house still has a possibility of exposure to third-hand smoke because tobacco smoke residue accumulates in an enclosed space, like a home or car, and remains on surfaces, in the dust, and materials for years after smoking has stopped.

  • House / apartment

As explained, you can get exposed to third-hand smoke in a house or apartment you just buy or rent. Even though it is already cleaned by the owner of the apartment, the third-hand smoke could still be there in the walls. It would be best if you ask the property management about the previous person who lives in the unit is a smoker or ask about smoking policies in your residents.

  • Cars / public transportations

You can get exposed to third-hand smoke in your rental car, or your friend’s car or taking a taxi. We never know if there is someone who smokes cigarettes inside the car and leaves third-hand smoke in the carpet or seats.

  • Hotels

The hotel room may look clean and tidy but who knows if the room we use in the hotel was a former smoking room.

  • Clothes

Babies and kids are easily exposed to third-hand smoke, especially when the father is a smoker. Third-hand smoke can easily linger to clothes. When the smokers are holding a baby, the baby will breathe near to the clothes and inhale the third-hand smoke.


How to remove thirdhand smoke?

  • Clean your walls and air ventilation

Thirdhand smoke is easy to linger on your wall for weeks, months, or even years. To remove its chemicals, you need to clean your walls regularly or re-painting it. It goes the same to the air ventilation, you need to clean it regularly to reduce thirdhand smoke residue.

  • Make your house a smoke-free place

After cleaning and remove the potentially exposed things, you need to strict with your cousins, your family, and friends to prohibited smoking cigarettes around your house.

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