Thirdhand Smoke: The Dangers and Prevention

Third hand smoke
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Most people know that smoking a cigarette is dangerous to a person’s health- not just for the person smoking, but to those around them through secondhand smoke. Many individuals have never heard of Third hand smoke and have no idea what it is, why it is dangerous, or how to prevent health risks associated with it. So what is it? Thirdhand refers to the residue from secondhand smoke that continues to linger to skin, clothing, furniture, and other household items of a smoker. This residue also clings to dust and air, making it almost impossible to get rid of. It consists of nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco that can be extremely dangerous to children and pose a risk to adults’ health if consumed.

Table of Contents
Health Dangers
How to Prevent Exposure
Just how bad is it?


Health Risks of Third Hand Smoke for Adults and Children

Exposure to Nicotine and chemicals in thirdhand cigarette smoking can cause a number of health issues for both adults and children. It affects the health of individuals who inhale, consume or touch it. It is almost unavoidable in smoking areas and is easily transported to other objects or areas where smoking is prohibited.

In terms of health risks, it has been found that when the chemicals interact with nitrous acid in the air, it forms compounds that can cause cancer. Additionally, reports have found that third-hand smoke exposure can lead to a risk of respiratory issues like asthma, coughing, and infections. Children are particularly at risk for thirdhand smoke exposure because of the extended contact they have with floors and other furniture. Kids also frequently put their hands and other objects in their mouths, which can increase exposure to this toxic chemical residue caused by burning tobacco.

Thirdhand Smoke: Prevention Tips

Thirdhand smoke is so easily transferable that the only way to avoid it is to quit smoking completely. It is best to live in a smoke free environment, however, if that is not possible, make an effort not to smoke inside the house or car. Thirdhand toxic residue is almost impossible to remove from fabric via traditional cleaning methods. The only way to get rid of thirdhand smoke from those items it to fully replace them.

Those who do smoke should not come into contact with infants and young children after using tobacco products. Even those who vape should try to limit the exposure of infants and young children to nicotine-laced vapor clouds.

How Dangerous Is It Really?

Thirdhand smoke is a dangerous side effect of smoking tobacco that impacts more than just the smoker who uses it. Everyone exposed to third-hand smoke, besides smokers, can suffer the dangerous health effects of these harmful chemicals. It is hard to get rid of and even harder to avoid in a smoking environment.

The best way to avoid exposure to these dangers, such as carcinogens and respiratory issues, is to not smoke in the first place. Smokers need to consider the dangers of secondhand and thirdhand smoke to those around them. Their cigarette use does not only affect their health; it affects anyone they are near to, even in smoke-free environments. If smokers would like to quit, there are plenty of smoking cessation aids out there. They work by providing a nicotine replacement, like e-juice with liquid nicotine in it, to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Published: January 28, 2015 Updated: February 21, 2019

Thirdhand Smoke: The Dangers and Prevention
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One comment on “Thirdhand Smoke: The Dangers and Prevention
  • Vinnie Valle
    February 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    You can paint a permeant air purification system on-to the walls of your home or office, by mixing the ionic paint additive by Air-ReNu with paint and applying the blended mixture to the walls of your home or office. One application eliminates offensive smoking odors, pet dander, toxins, and will continue to remain effective for 8 to 12 years.