The Dangers of Third Hand Smoke

Story by – Valerie Kendall

June 1, 2012 - 1 minute read
The tar in cigarettes carries toxic chemicals, clings to the walls, and is resistant to standard cleaning methods.

Many people know that second-hand smoke from cigarettes can kill. Second-hand smoke has also been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, asthma and respiratory infections. Now, emerging data is showing that third-hand smoke is also hazardous to your health.

What is third-hand smoke? Third-hand smoke is a relatively new concept. It is the nicotine and other toxic chemicals that are left behind long after cigarette smoke clears the air. The tar found in cigarette smoke works like glue to stick these chemicals to the furniture, walls, drapes, vehicles, carpets, skin and hair exposed to smoke.

Residue from third-hand smoke builds up over time and can’t be cleaned by standard methods. You can observe the walls of a smoker changing from white to yellow. You can smell it when a smoker stands next to you after a smoke break.

These chemicals are toxic! If you smell, see or touch clothing, furniture, car seats or other materials exposed to third-hand smoke you are putting your health at risk as these toxic chemicals are absorbed into your blood.

Infants and children are especially at risk, and the only way to protect them is to create a smoke free environment in your home, vehicles, and even in public places. Do not allow smokers to smoke in a room children will enter, and ensure smokers have freshly washed hands before touching the infants and children.

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