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A New Cigarette Hazard: ‘Third-Hand Smoke’

Public Health Smoking 2009 3rd hand smoke

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#1 Nonny

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 12:28 PM

A New Cigarette Hazard: ‘Third-Hand Smoke’

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Parents who smoke often open a window or turn on a fan to clear the air for their children, but experts now have identified a related threat to children’s health that isn’t as easy to get rid of: third-hand smoke.

That’s the term being used to describe the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing, not to mention cushions and carpeting, that lingers long after second-hand smoke has cleared from a room. The residue includes heavy metals, carcinogens and even radioactive materials that young children can get on their hands and ingest, especially if they’re crawling or playing on the floor.

Doctors from MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston coined the term “third-hand smoke” to describe these chemicals in a new study that focused on the risks they pose to infants and children. The study was published in this month’s issue of the journal Pediatrics.

“Everyone knows that second-hand smoke is bad, but they don’t know about this,” said Dr. Jonathan P. Winickoff, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

“When their kids are out of the house, they might smoke. Or they smoke in the car. Or they strap the kid in the car seat in the back and crack the window and smoke, and they think it’s okay because the second-hand smoke isn’t getting to their kids,” Dr. Winickoff continued. “We needed a term to describe these tobacco toxins that aren’t visible.”

Third-hand smoke is what one smells when a smoker gets in an elevator after going outside for a cigarette, he said, or in a hotel room where people were smoking. “Your nose isn’t lying,” he said. “The stuff is so toxic that your brain is telling you: ’Get away.’”...
And another of my paranoias turns into the truth I knew it was.
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#2 Balthamos

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 01:00 PM

Until there are multiple studies proving that this has any significant health effects I, a none smoker who supports the smoking ban, will quite happily disregard this and I would urge everyone else to do the same. There may be dangerous chemicals clinging to the clothes of a smoker but the quantities will be well below any toxic limits.

#3 Pixiedust

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 01:20 PM

I would think this is only a problem if the person is a very heavy smoker, but some people who smoke a lot really do smell quite heavy of smoke. Those who only smoke sometimes I don't think would be a problem.
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#4 sierraleone

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 01:20 PM

I don't know how this is a surprise that 2nd hand smoke particles clings to surfaces near where it is released, and that these would be bad for your health either.

I wouldn't be so worried about the smoker I met in an elevator, but more living in a house where there used to be a smoker, or something similar. Even if there are no health problems from it, I would detest the smell, which is very hard to get out. And no, I'm not saying landlords should all be forced to make their rental units non-smoking to accommodate people like me.
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#5 Broph

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 01:24 PM

View PostBalthamos, on Jan 6 2009, 06:00 PM, said:

Until there are multiple studies proving that this has any significant health effects I, a none smoker who supports the smoking ban, will quite happily disregard this and I would urge everyone else to do the same. There may be dangerous chemicals clinging to the clothes of a smoker but the quantities will be well below any toxic limits.

It's not a question of the clothes; it's a question of the room - the walls, ceilings, light fixtures, etc. After my mother died, I took a good look in the living room, once her favorite smoking room. The wallpaper had become dingy over the years and wiping it down with a sponge, I realized that it was all old cigarette smoke that was on the walls like a thick film.

#6 Christopher

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 01:38 PM

I should've thought this hazard would be intuitively obvious.  I mean, if the chemicals are toxic when floating around as smoke, they'd still be toxic once they settle onto clothes and walls and furniture.  It's not going to magically become harmless just because it isn't airborne anymore.  (Okay, admittedly some of the compounds might oxidize or photodissociate or otherwise break down into harmless forms, but that can't be assumed of most or all of the vast panoply of poisons that comprise tobacco smoke.)  And if people are constantly smoking in a particular room or apartment or house, naturally more toxins will accumulate on its surfaces over time, upping the toxicity level.  Same if the same set of clothes is worn by a smoker for a long time.
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#7 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 01:45 PM

Third hand smoke? They've got to be kidding...LMAO! What's next? 4th hand smoke? Smoke a cigarette and you go to Hell. 5th hand smoke? Smoke a cigarette and everyone around you goes to Hell. 6th hand smoke: Smoke a cigarette and your first born will have to be scarificed to appease the Gods.

LMAO!

The sad part is the PC crowd probably is dead serious about this.

And radioactive material? Come on! I've yet to see a smoker start glowing in the dark.

I'm not saying smoke doesn't cover the walls or anything like that. Hell anyone whose been around smokers knows nicotine builds up on the walls. But to try and make it out as this doomsday senario third smoke is absurd.
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#8 BklnScott

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 01:53 PM

Do you think Dr. Winickoff of Harvard Med School is lying about the results of this study?

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#9 Broph

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 01:55 PM

View PostDiabolic Mage, on Jan 6 2009, 06:45 PM, said:

And radioactive material? Come on! I've yet to see a smoker start glowing in the dark.

Old clocks and radios used to have a radioactive flourescent paint put onto them. The brushes were very small and it was hard to be precise, so a lot of workers would lick the tip of the paintbrush. They didn't glow in the dark themselves, but they did develop cancer and die.

#10 Balthamos

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 02:18 PM

In doors, yes, I would say it's possible there's a risk, but meeting someone in an lift I wouldn't be bothered about. It's extremely intuitive that there's still dangerous chemicals in the smoke that sticks to clothing I just don't think the amounts are going to be significant unless you're cuddling someone who smokes 40 a day. I'd hate to see this taken further. It doesn't seem like too much of a leap to me for work places to refuse to higher someone who smokes because "their 3rd hand smoke is a danger to other employees".

If someone is smoking in the same house or room as their child even when they're not at home then the build up may become toxic but I'd urge any parent to stop smoking full stop, not just around the child or any room their child is in.

#11 Nonny

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 02:25 PM

View PostBalthamos, on Jan 6 2009, 10:00 AM, said:

Until there are multiple studies proving that this has any significant health effects I, a none smoker who supports the smoking ban, will quite happily disregard this and I would urge everyone else to do the same. There may be dangerous chemicals clinging to the clothes of a smoker but the quantities will be well below any toxic limits.
The quantities are significant enough for someone like me, elderly with respiratory impairment, to gag when I smell smoke or stale smoke in a room, on someone's clothes or breath.
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All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#12 Nonny

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 02:34 PM

View PostBalthamos, on Jan 6 2009, 11:18 AM, said:

In doors, yes, I would say it's possible there's a risk, but meeting someone in an lift I wouldn't be bothered about. It's extremely intuitive that there's still dangerous chemicals in the smoke that sticks to clothing I just don't think the amounts are going to be significant unless you're cuddling someone who smokes 40 a day. I'd hate to see this taken further. It doesn't seem like too much of a leap to me for work places to refuse to higher someone who smokes because "their 3rd hand smoke is a danger to other employees".

If someone is smoking in the same house or room as their child even when they're not at home then the build up may become toxic but I'd urge any parent to stop smoking full stop, not just around the child or any room their child is in.
Too bad my father was never able to stop.  He sure tried.  Exposure to his smoking is what caused my lifetime of respiratory problems.  And my mom, a lifelong nonsmoker like myself, was exposed to his smoke, her friends' smoke, their husbands' smoke, her second and third husbands' smoke and all the stuff deposited in all the rooms they lived and smoked in.  She died of lung cancer last summer.  

In the past year I've taken to covering my nose and mouth with a bandana when the smell hits my face.  I've gotten quite used to people mocking me, but so long as they're walking away while they're doing it, fine by me.
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Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#13 Balthamos

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 02:46 PM

View PostNonny, on Jan 6 2009, 07:25 PM, said:

View PostBalthamos, on Jan 6 2009, 10:00 AM, said:

Until there are multiple studies proving that this has any significant health effects I, a none smoker who supports the smoking ban, will quite happily disregard this and I would urge everyone else to do the same. There may be dangerous chemicals clinging to the clothes of a smoker but the quantities will be well below any toxic limits.
The quantities are significant enough for someone like me, elderly with respiratory impairment, to gag when I smell smoke or stale smoke in a room, on someone's clothes or breath.

While that's unfortunate Nonny it's not fair to expect people to stop smoking entirely for the few who are sensitive to second hand smoke. You have the freedom to not associate with people who don't smoke and avoid areas where people have been smoking. There are very few public places (In England, and many states in America) where such a build up of smoke won't happen because of smoking bans. You're free not to visit people's houses when they smoke if it causes you problems. I also wonder how often you are affected by a nearby smoker and how much he has to smoke for it to affect you when you pass him or her by in a supermarket.

Edit to add

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Too bad my father was never able to stop. He sure tried. Exposure to his smoking is what caused my lifetime of respiratory problems. And my mom, a lifelong nonsmoker like myself, was exposed to his smoke, her friends' smoke, their husbands' smoke, her second and third husbands' smoke and all the stuff deposited in all the rooms they lived and smoked in. She died of lung cancer last summer.

I'm not quite sure how this is relevant considering we're discussing so called "third hand" not second hand. I'm assuming your father and your mother's husbands smoked around her or you? Which would be second hand smoke.

Edited by Balthamos, 06 January 2009 - 02:49 PM.


#14 Themis

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 03:08 PM

There was a recent mass cleaning of the Nashville capitol and Metro courthouse and part of that was trying to clear the walls of decades of nicotine.   I think smoking bans were finally instigated so they wouldn't have to pay to do that again.  

I can see a danger to infants and toddlers in rooms frequented by heavy smokers; can some of the new vacuums with fancy filters take some of that third-hand smoke away?  My mother always smoked but I guess it wasn't that heavy.  I was always sensitive to smoke and can't remember ever walking in the house or getting in the car and being aware of the stench that's in bars and used to be on my clothes if I was in a gathering of smokers.  She was also an excellent housekeeper, which I'm sure helped.

I'd be curious to see if all those air freshners and candles and Glade gingerbread scents etc. etc. have any after-effects settling on carpets or furniture that could be toxic.  I'm sensitive to that sort of thing.  Whatever happened to just washing the dishes and tossing the garbage and generally cleaning the house to smell - clean?
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#15 Balderdash

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 03:22 PM

View PostDiabolic Mage, on Jan 6 2009, 11:45 AM, said:

Third hand smoke? They've got to be kidding...LMAO! What's next? 4th hand smoke? Smoke a cigarette and you go to Hell. 5th hand smoke? Smoke a cigarette and everyone around you goes to Hell. 6th hand smoke: Smoke a cigarette and your first born will have to be scarificed to appease the Gods.

LMAO!

The sad part is the PC crowd probably is dead serious about this.

And radioactive material? Come on! I've yet to see a smoker start glowing in the dark.

I'm not saying smoke doesn't cover the walls or anything like that. Hell anyone whose been around smokers knows nicotine builds up on the walls. But to try and make it out as this doomsday senario third smoke is absurd.


Dude, you can't win this one.  We smokers are evil incarnate, we stink and we kill innocent people.  This is the only post I'm going to make in here and after that I'm not even going to open this thread.

P.S. I will say this though, it sure would be nice to see someone posting productive ways that smokers can quit instead of the f*ck*ng pile-on smokers posts that are the norm in here where we're supposed to be excellent to each other.  Now I'm out with my stinky self.

Edited by Balderdash, 06 January 2009 - 03:25 PM.

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#16 enTranced

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 03:31 PM

As someone who has suffered from asthma and allergies his whole life I can only barely muster a half-way duh for this news.

My father was a heavy duty smoker and myself and my two siblings all suffer from various breathing issues. Fortunetly we are all being well treated by medication but without my two Qvar puffs each day I am screwed.

I have two smoker friends and if I hang out with them in their apartment I need to take along my emergency inhaler and even then sit by a open window, even if they are not currently smoking.  If my son is with me I make sure he is near that window also.

It's real and it is not a laughing matter.

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#17 sierraleone

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 04:52 PM

View PostBalthamos, on Jan 6 2009, 02:46 PM, said:

Edit to add

Quote

Too bad my father was never able to stop. He sure tried. Exposure to his smoking is what caused my lifetime of respiratory problems. And my mom, a lifelong nonsmoker like myself, was exposed to his smoke, her friends' smoke, their husbands' smoke, her second and third husbands' smoke and all the stuff deposited in all the rooms they lived and smoked in. She died of lung cancer last summer.

I'm not quite sure how this is relevant considering we're discussing so called "third hand" not second hand. I'm assuming your father and your mother's husbands smoked around her or you? Which would be second hand smoke.

Technically, they'd be exposed to both. 2nd hand smoke when the smoker in their life/house is smoking, and third hand when they are not, if its any place/thing the smoker frequents especially when smoking.

Edited by sierraleone, 06 January 2009 - 04:53 PM.

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Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
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Rule#6: Remember the future.
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Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#18 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 05:01 PM

View PostBklnScott, on Jan 6 2009, 01:53 PM, said:

Do you think Dr. Winickoff of Harvard Med School is lying about the results of this study?

There are so many ways to make a study say whatever you want. Besides, I don't put much stock into medical studies...They come out saying one thing one year, then in a couple years they come out with another study saying the complete opposite....So I don't put much stock in them, no...
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

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Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

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#19 Broph

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 05:33 PM

View PostBalthamos, on Jan 6 2009, 07:46 PM, said:

I'm not quite sure how this is relevant considering we're discussing so called "third hand" not second hand. I'm assuming your father and your mother's husbands smoked around her or you? Which would be second hand smoke.

2nd hand smoke is "active" smoke - it's smoke in the air as the smoker is puffing away. 3rd hand smoke is the stuff that's left behind long after the smoking is over - it's the stuff on the walls, in the furniture, in the carpets. It's not "smoke" as much as it's a film that gives off fumes back into the air.

#20 Omega

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 06:07 PM

I second the "duh" response.  My wife is very allergic to cigarette smoke.  Her smoker brother came to visit, and just his non-smoking presence and whatever he left behind on our sofa gave her the same reaction as second-hand smoke.  As far as I'm concerned, nobody who's smoked recently is allowed in our house any more.  We moved specifically to get away from people spewing poison in our direction.  I'm starting to think that perhaps carrying some sort of pocket fan would be a good idea, so that if we pass someone smoking on the street we can try to keep the smoke away.  I'm really quite tired of other people's problems making my wife sick.

And just so I'm not accused of trying to bash smokers instead of offering productive suggestions:
http://www.smoke51.com/



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