You’ve heard of secondhand smoke, but what about third-hand smoke?
Dr. Vinayak Jha of GW Hospital says that third-hand smoke “passing from room to room carries the same dangers as breathing secondhand smoke.”
“Ventilation systems and A/C systems do not remove the smaller particles or the gases found in secondhand smoke,” the doctor was quoted as saying in this September 9, 2010 article by Chelsea Radler.
According to an article in Scientific American by Coco Ballantyne, “While some students interviewed said they did not worry about the health concerns of third-hand smoke, the hazards of consistent exposure are widely acknowledged by the medical community.”
Radler quotes Dr. Jha saying, “The reason that non-smoking workplace laws have been passed in 27 states and in D.C. is because the evidence is so strong that secondhand smoke causes and exacerbates disease in non-smoking bystanders.”
In the Scientific American article it quotes Jonathan Winickoff, a pediatrician at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center in Boston, “Third-hand smoke is tobacco smoke contamination that remains after a cigarette has been
According to this article, Winickoff published a study in the journal Pediatrics, which says “a large number of people, particularly smokers, have no idea that third-hand smoke—the cocktail of toxins that linger in carpets, sofas, clothes and other materials hours or even days after a cigarette is put out—is a health hazard for infants and children.”
From the article:
Third-hand smoke refers to the tobacco toxins that build up over time—one cigarette will coat the surface of a certain room [a second cigarette will add another coat, and so on]. The third-hand smoke is the stuff that remains [after visible or “second-hand smoke” has dissipated from the air]…. You can’t really quantify it, because it depends on the space…. In a tiny space like a car the deposition is really heavy…. Smokers [may] smoke in another room or turn on a fan. They don’t see the smoke going into a child’s nose; they think that if they cannot see it, it’s not affecting [their children].
Smokers themselves are also contaminated…smokers actually emit toxins [from clothing and hair].
What are your thoughts? Do you believe third-hand smoke is a potential and actual threat?