It has been known for years now that smoking is bad for you and can lead to an array of different health problems. The effects of second-hand smoke have been well documented as well and many people take proper precautions, or are at least aware of the risk involved when being exposed to it. However, a relatively new hazard has been getting more attention known as third-hand smoke and recent studies have shown that it can be quite dangerous.
Third-hand smoke is residual gasses and particles left behind from tobacco smoke that remain on virtually any surface after the tobacco product is extinguished. These particles and gasses can remain on surfaces for long periods of time, even if smoking has not occurred in the area recently. Surfaces include but are not limited to furniture, clothing, hair, floors and walls. According to the Mayo Clinic, the toxins left over from third-hand smoke mix with other pollutants found indoors. This creates a toxic mixture that poses potential health hazards for those who are exposed to it, especially in children.
Though third-hand smoke is a relatively new point of focus for the scientific and health community, a recent study done by the University of California revealed just how harmful it can be.
“In terms of real world consequences for children of smoking parents, a recent study showed that children living with 1–2 adults who smoke in the home, where SHS and its residues (THS) are abundant, were absent 40% more days from school due to illness than children who did not live with smokers,” read the findings in the study.
The study also pointed out in its conclusion that based on its findings, other potential consequences are impaired healing, metabolic syndrome and increased risk for fibrosis. One concern that has been raised is that exposure to third-hand smoke is difficult to prevent. As of now, the only guaranteed protection is a totally smoke free environment, however, many restaurants or other establishments can lead to exposure even if they have not been smoked in for quite some time.
“Our studies in mice that are never exposed to smoke itself but are exposed to residues of the smoke, strongly implicate tobacco smoke residues in these pathologies,” read the study.
There are some recommended steps to be taken for those that are looking to either change to a smoke-free home or to ensure that their home is smoke-free. According to NoSmokeWV, a thorough washing of all walls in the home, professional cleaning of carpets, drapes and linens, ventilation cleaning and fresh paint can help to eradicate potentially harmful toxins.
What are your thoughts on third-hand smoke? Post them below in the comments section.