Clothes, furniture, carpets, drapes, curtains, bedding, walls… cigarette smoke can be absorbed by everything. Any surfaces become toxic under the influence of tobacco smoke, creating a dangerous threat to nonsmokers.
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What is Thirdhand Smoke?
Thirdhand smoke (THS) is the term introduced by a research team from the Dana–Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and refers to tobacco contamination of various surfaces. In recent years a number of studies concerning this topic have been conducted.
While there is visible physical evidence of firsthand smoking, THS contains a way more covert health danger. An experiment, published in Clinical Science, showed that a living being affected by smoke may produce some health hazards in a half-year period. For instance, there were cases of cell damage of liver and brain, elevated level of cortisol and depleted immune system. It can cause more frequent headaches, premature aging, and fatty liver. Moreover, some were under the threat of type 2 diabetes development because of enlarged insulin resistance. THS toxins also lead to a protein increase which in its turn can lead to the inflammation in blood vessels.
People are affected by toxins which are left after smoking. We can absorb them through the skin by touching the polluted objects, or through breathing. So, it’s better to stay away from contaminated places.
Danger in our Houses
Thirdhand toxins were found in clothing, furniture, fabric, etc. The most frightening thing is that smoke leftovers can even stay in hair and skin for long. They cannot be wiped out by room airing out or air conditioning. In combination with other types of contaminants, for example ozone and nitrous acid, THS toxins can be basis for creating new hazardous elements, such as nitrosamine (NNA). They can lead to asthma, DNA damage, and the development of cancer. In addition, nicotine diminishes cognitive abilities and makes you feel anxious and depressed. It was proved to cause insomnia and headaches.
People may enter a high-risk zone when they move into houses primarily occupied by smokers, as THS toxins are difficult to get rid of. The only effective measure that should be taken is replacement of furniture and carpets.
Healthcare organizations are attempting to create smoke-free zones and implement tobacco bans to decrease smoke exposure in public places, such as offices, restaurants, cafés, shops, and bars.
Protect your Children
Another concern is that the children of smokers are especially vulnerable to cigarette smoke. A recent research showed that secondhand and thirdhand smoke exposure become one of the main reasons of respiratory system illnesses, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
What is more, a study demonstrated that people suffer from cancer, cardiovascular diseases and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease because of constant cigarette smoke exposure. According to statistics, almost 25% of deaths in European countries are attributed to tobacco.
So, cigarette smoke poses a health risk even to nonsmokers. As THS is a new and not fully investigated concept, scientists are still mulling over its potential dangers. There is a need of a further observation of a THS toxins effect on human health. Meanwhile, the only way to protect your life is smoke-free zones.