Third hand smoke a controversial silent killer behind disease, disability and death

Third hand smoke dangers, facts, on infants and SIDS



Third hand smoke is a relatively new and emerging subject of discussion. It is centered around the general effects of cigarette smoking and effects of secondhand smoke in particular.

This concept is not good news to big tobacco and other pro-smoking sponsors and advocates. Anything that threatens the tobacco market is greatly abhorred by the tobacco industry and is bound to face severe resistance.

Third-hand smoke or 3rd hand smoke as some call it is the idea that the effects of smoking do not only end in second hand smoke when a smoker is around non-smokers but that tobacco smoke contamination lingers even after a cigarette is extinguished. This essentially answers the question - how does smoking affect the environment.

In essence when a smoker smokes in any place, toxic particulate matter from cigarette smoke sucks into hair, clothing, upholstery, drapes and so on. When an innocent person comes into contact with those toxins, they transfer. Third hand smoke has been known to remain inside homes and buildings long after the smoking has stopped.

Shockingly, it has been proved that tobacco residuals stay in the lungs of a smoker after he or she takes the very last puff of a cigarette. It doesn't just end there. It can then can take up to three minutes before the smoker stop exhaling the toxic products of combustion that had been trapped in his or her lungs.

To smokers; making your home, office and car totally smoke-free is logically the best way forward to protect loved ones. Further, delaying contact with little ones for up to five minutes after your last cigarette is arguably beneficial.

If ignored, these low levels of tobacco toxins have been linked to cognitive deficits among children. This indeed warrants home smoking and general in door smoking bans.We see this in the service world all around us. Not only are most modern mainstream airports banning airport terminal smoking due to second hand smoke, but also because of these very effects of third hand smoke. An invisible silent killer.

Third hand smoke is even more frightening in breastfeeding mothers. Toxins from a smoking mother can also be transferred to an innocent baby via breast milk. Indeed small children are highly vulnerable to 3rd hand smoke exposure simply because they can have their play spaces on contaminated surfaces.

An ex-smoker once reported washing her walls at her home she shared with her chain smoking husband. She witnessed a stream of tea colored water ran down the walls. This was tobacco residual. Prior to the cleaning, the walls did not look discolored at all. She was left wondering what her husband's lungs looked like.

Studies carried out since 2000 when the phenomenon of thirdhand smoke began to be thoroughly interrogated have concluded that a huge number of smokers is unaware of the risks to infants from third-hand smoke.

In fact most smokers have long believed that having a window wide open or turning on a fan would totally dismiss tobacco smoke with its harmful by-products. Yet in actual fact, as second hand smoke passes, third hand smoke swiftly takes over and this isn't so easy to get rid of.

Counselors repeatedly encourage those who quit smoking to thoroughly clean the house and car and their other belongs that had previously been exposed to tobacco smoke. Smoking certainly affects your environment. This cleaning is beneficial to your loved ones too in addition to making your resolve to kick the habit ever more strong.

third hand smoke and infantsWhilst accepting that smoking is not healthy, some smokers even many have reacted angrily to the issue of third hand smoke and smoking in general. They feel the world (non-smokers) is piling unnecessary pressure on them to quit yet the world is full of many other toxins in water, food and so on that causes cancer and other deadly diseases. They argue money and energy is better spent dealing with those other harmful substances.

However, the argument has always been that smokers have loved ones who equally care about their health and would like them to quit. Further, unlike toxins in food and water, the danger is limited to a single individual. There is no involuntary participation which is rampant in tobacco smoking through second hand smoking and thirdhand smoking.

Dangers of thirdhand smoke include exacerbated asthma in infants, heart disease, stroke and other smoking related diseases. Infants are also exposed to SIDS known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or crib death.


Read here findings on a research called Beliefs About the Health Effects of "Thirdhand" Smoke and Home Smoking Bans by The American Academy of Pediatrics



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