5 Health Effects of Thirdhand Smoke

Emerging scientific studies suggest that thirdhand smoke is more dangerous than secondhand smoke.

As scientists dwell deeper into the negative side effects of smoking, we understand how important it is to quit smoking now. Smoking has been linked to many cases of early death. It is also a major risk factor for cancer, pneumonia, and heart problems. For the past years, researchers have focused on the health effects of firsthand and secondhand smoke. Recent findings however suggest that such effects don’t stop there. It continues and get more dangerous, especially when converted to thirdhand smoke.

What is thirdhand smoke?

Many smokers love to smoke inside the bathroom as they take a shower. Others can’t help but light up even though they’re in restricted areas such as enclosed vicinities. Thirdhand smoke refers to the residual nicotine and other chemicals left in indoor spaces or surfaces by a person who smokes. This residue is believed to react with other types of indoor pollutants, creating a mix of toxins that is more harmful than the chemicals contained in tobacco. Studies show that thirdhand smoke attaches to skin, hair, bedding, drapes, curtains, and other surfaces and stay there for such a long time even after the smoker stops lighting up. Thirdhand smoke also goes through door cracks, plumbing and electrical systems, HVAC units, and a lot more.

5   Health Effects of Thirdhand Smoke:

 1.  It’s cancerous.

It contains many cancer-causing chemicals such as arsenic, ammonia, butane, cadmium (causes “smoker’s leg”), chromium, hydrogen cyanide, lead, toluene, and radioactive polonium-210. And even in small amounts, the toxic compounds found in thirdhand smoke can significantly affect the brain and nerve tissues. It’s estimated that thirdhand smoke contains about 250 carcinogens.

2.  It harms children.

Tobacco residues are associated with cognitive problems in children. Babies, toddlers and kids who are continually exposed to thirdhand smoke are more likely to develop mental and behavioral disorders. In a study on the effects of thirdhand smoke, researchers found cotinine – a byproduct of nicotine in the urine samples of children.

3.  It lowers down the value of a property.

Thirdhand smoke damages interior and exterior surfaces, resulting to the decline in the property value. Many buyers of cars and real estate properties are now checking smoking damage before investing.

4.  It has tobacco-specific nitrosamines or TSNAs

TNAs are the most potent type of carcinogen that is found in unburned tobacco and tobacco smoke.  When combined with other toxins, it forms a set of compound which is 10 times stronger than the original TNAs. People who are in contact with surfaces containing TNAs become more at risk to cancer.

5.   It harms babies more than it harms smokers.

Babies exposed to thirdhand smoke have cotinine levels which are 50 times more concentrated than people who smoke.

More research needs to be done to assess the negative impact of thirdhand smoke. These findings however suggest the promotion of smoking ban particularly in homes and other vicinities where it can potentially harm one’s health.



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