Cigarette dangers may be even more far-reaching then once considered.
First, Secondhand smoke is the smoke and other airborne products that come from being close to burning tobacco products, such as cigarettes.
So what’s 3rd hand smoke?
Ever enter a room or elevator and catch a whiff of that pungent scent of cigarette smoke, even when no one is around. Well, that’s Third-hand smoke.
AND what you are smelling and breathing in, is tobacco smoke contamination. It is the residue left behind by nicotine and other chemicals left on a variety of indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke. It clings to hair, skin, clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles and other surfaces, even long after the smoking has stopped.
Remember in science class where you had a lit cigarette with a piece of tissue covering the filter and when you took off the tissue you had this residue left behind. Yup. That the stuff, and it’s piling up on surfaces.
Third-hand smoke also refers to the tobacco toxins that build up over time. Imagine the residue of one cigarette coating the surface of a room like paint on a wall. Now add the residue of a second cigarette, then another and another. You get the picture.
Third-hand smoke is the stuff that remains behind after the air clears. It’s hard to gauge levels as it all depends on the area affected and the number of tobacco smoke that was present. In a car with four smokers, the deposition would be extremely high. In a large room, however, the dangers may be less obvious. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Ask most people what they think of breathing air in a room today where people smoked yesterday and if that was a health concern for children or themselves, and they’d probably think nothing of it.
Some even believe that as long as a window is open and the fan turned up, can’t see the smoke going into anyone’s noses that it’s safe and not affecting those around them, especially children.
The problem is this isn’t just a bad smell that will go away in a bit. This residue is thought to react with common indoor pollutants to create a toxic mix. It builds up over time and resists normal cleaning. It cannot be gotten rid of by airing out rooms, having your windows open or even confining smoking to only a particular area of the home.
These layers of contaminants are cancer-causing and highly toxic, posing a potential health hazard to nonsmokers who are exposed to it, especially children.
Infants and children are the highest at risk from third-hand smoke. As their brains are extremely susceptible to even low levels of toxins. And the stuff is everywhere. Floors, toys, furniture and so on. Having them crawl around on it and then having their hands in their mouths after isn’t good for them, to say the least.
An infant has a higher respiratory rate and is likely to be exposed to 20 times that of an adult. The only way to protect the young and nonsmokers from thirdhand smoke is to have a smoke-free environment.