You’ve likely seen how dangerous second-hand smoke is, but you probably haven’t seen that scientists have been studying beyond that. They are now aware that there’s another stage to the risks of tobacco smoke and they believe it to be just as dangerous as first or secondhand if not more so.
What is Thirdhand Smoke?
Firsthand smoke is caused by the smokers inhalation of tobacco and can have serious consequences for a smoker’s health.
Secondhand smoke is the inhalation of smoke that is exhaled from a smoker or the sidestream smoke released from a burning tobacco product. Secondhand smoke can cause several different cancers in both adults and children along with other diseases and even death.
If you would like to learn more about Secondhand smoke please click this link.
Thirdhand smoke is the term used for the residue left behind by tobacco smoke. This residue is made up of many gasses and particulate matters that can continue to build up on surfaces and even dust.
What’s worse, these toxins are shown to become stronger as time passes. This means a smoker’s environment can remain toxic for several months after the last cigarette was smoked in the area.
What causes these toxins?
There are over 7,000 chemicals in 1 cigarette with at least 70 of them being known carcinogens. Some of the residues include harmful metals such as lead, arsenic, and cyanide. We know how bad just these 3 metals are, but there is so much more!
In addition to these dangerous particles and gasses, the nicotine released from tobacco smoke mixes with common household air pollutants known as HONO and forms into a carcinogen (TSNA). To read more on this insightful study you can click here.
Thirdhand smoke is believed to be just as harmful to our health as first or secondhand smoke, though it has not gotten much publicity yet due to lack of substantial evidence as to the effects it has on humans. That kind of evidence can take a long time to acquire. There has however been animal testing on mice with horrific results.
Professor Manuela Martins-Green of UCR has been studying the effects that thirdhand smoke has on mice and found the mice to have several organ alterations and excretions of tobacco carcinogens that are similar to those found in children exposed to secondhand smoke.
In these mice, the exposure to Thirdhand smoke increased their lipid levels and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which often, may lead to cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. The exposure also lead to an increase in collagen production and inflammatory cytokine in the lungs. This may lead to fibrosis, pulmonary disease and asthma. In addition, the mice also showed poor healing and hyperactivity.
To read in further depth the dangers this poses to our children being exposed to thirdhand smoke you may click here.
Manuela Martins-Green says, “Children in environments where smoking is or has been allowed, are at significant risk for suffering from multiple short-term and longer health problems, many of which may not manifest fully until later in life.”
What you can do for your kids
- If a known smoker will be coming to your residence ask them politely to bring a “smokers jacket”. This will be a jacket that they will cover themselves with fully if they choose to smoke and will remove promptly after entering your home to help reduce the spread of residue.
- Ask a smoker to wash their hands upon entry of your home, especially, before they may touch any of your children.
- If you are a smoker, please have a smoker jacket, wash your hands regularly and brush your teeth after smoking. If you will be handling a young child it is helpful to change your clothes before doing so and is even better to take a shower. The residue spreads easily and remains anywhere you may touch.
- I was a smoker for ten years and quit when I realized how much danger I was putting my daughter in. It was hard to quit but worth every moment of the struggle to be free of cigarettes. If you smoke quitting is the best thing you can do.
- Do not take your children to a smokers home if you can avoid it. Consider an outing event instead.
- Infants are especially susceptible to Thirdhand smoke. It falls and lingers on the floor where they crawl and walls they use to help them walk. They touch it with their hands and may ingest it. Also, due to their fast shallow breaths babies breath in much more of the toxins than an adult would.
- Have your children shower after interactions with any persons that have been smoking.
How You Can Help
I have been trying to raise awareness of this situation since the birth of my daughter. I am surrounded by smokers as I’m sure many of you are also and trying to protect them from the dangers of smoking has been an exhausting and hard process.
People don’t want to listen, especially smokers, but the more people who care and the more people that share this information, the better chances we will have in the fight for a stronger, healthier future for our babies. People need to know about this!
Please take the proper precautions to keep your children safe, and share this information with anyone and everyone that has children. Let’s make this known and help to stop unnecessary ailments in our beautiful children.
More Articles On the Dangers of Thirdhand Smoke:
Thirdhand smoke may be even more dangerous for children
Avoiding the dangers of Thirdhand smoke
Thirdhand smoke is real and risky to your health – National geographic
What is Thirdhand smoke? Is it hazardous?
Thirdhand smoke may harm Infants
Thirdhand smoke may harm infants – Yahoo News
Pioneering study claims Thirdhand smoke causes significant damage to our DNA