Experts warn about the possible danger of third hand smoke to children’s health. That sticky brown residue left by cigarette smoke that sticks on your furniture and walls can be more dangerous to your child’s health than passive smoking.
Researchers discovered that some of the compounds found in second hand smoke can remain indoors long after you have put out the cigarette. These substances react with different indoor pollutants like nitrous and ozone acids, creating new compounds that can be carcinogenic.
One of the residues – called ‘noxious residue’ or NNA – lingers on almost every surface, including your toddler’s toys and all other items that your kids may put their hands into. This substance attaches to human DNA and may cause unrestrained cell growth which can develop into cancerous tumors.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, led by Dr. Bo Hang, discovered that NNA attaches itself onto DNA and forms what is called a ‘bulky adduct’ – a piece of DNA vulnerable to cancer-causing chemicals. Genetic mutations are also caused by other large compounds by attaching themselves to human DNA.
The best reason for banning indoor smoking is the potential risk it can cause to toddlers and children. They are in their early developmental stage and considering their small size, they are very vulnerable and at risk to the harmful effects of third hand smoke compared to full grown adults. As they play and crawl around they can get their hands into or come across these residues, and could either swallow or inhale these harmful substances
While smoking in public places is banned in most states, people are still free to smoke in their residences or in rental apartments which poses the greatest risks. One of the best ways to address third hand smoke is to clean, remove or replace items that might contain these residues, such as carpets, sofas, and curtains. Sealing and repainting walls is also a good way to ensure that your child is safe from the dangers of third hand smoke. This can be a little expensive but keeping your family safe from third hand smoke is worth it.
Though further research is needed to finally establish the connection between third hand smoke (or NNA) and cancer, early research in its nature and health effects is convincing enough to raise the attention of government officials and warn the public of the possible harmful effects of theses substance present in third hand smoke.
Whether it’s first, second or third hand smoke, it cannot be denied that it poses different health risks for both the smokers and the people around them. But keeping your home cigarette-free will yield only positive results and it doesn’t even require a deeper study.