Third Hand Smoke, the Unrecognised Danger of Cigarettes

Third Hand Smoke is the Unknown Danger from Smoking.

3rd hand smoke is one of those phrases that many of us may have heard before, but we may not really understand what it is, let alone worry about it. 


But we really should. Although it doesn't have the immediate impact of 2nd hand smoke, 3rd hand smoke lasts much longer, is much harder to detect and has the same long-term impacts.


Like most things linked to cigarettes, the news gets worse. Let us explain.


How Third Hand Smoke Works

Like the more well-known 2nd hand smoke, 3rd hand smoke is caused by the smoke exhaled by the smoker and the smoke which comes off the cigarette. 


Think of it as the fall-out after the initial 2nd hand smoke.  When you exhale cigarette smoke, it doesn't just magically disappear from a room.  All those chemicals instead settle on everything; including skin, hair and any other surface in your home.


So those 4000+ chemicals and 50+ known carcinogens, heavy metals and even radioactive materials that you find in a cigarette, are released all around you and then settle and continue to emit toxins for a long time.


More so, the other pollutants in your house can actually make this worse, as they combine with the 3rd hand smoke to create new carcinogens.


It seems that natural fibres are the most affected by 3rd hand smoke, with wool and cotton absorbing the most and then can emit toxins back into the air for days or even weeks after someone smoked!


Even after multiples washes, 3rd hand smoke can still be lingering and emitting toxins on your clothes if it has absorbed enough.


3rd Hand Smoke Affects Children And Animals Most Of All

Because of the nature of small children and animals, they are the most at risk from 3rd hand smoke. Our kids and pets are both closest to the most common emitters of 3rd hand smoke (carpets and sofas) and are the most likely to put anything and everything into their mouths, along with the lingering toxins.


And 3rd hand smoke can have serious effects, ranging from the immediate effect of slower healing rate to mutation and damage their DNA. It can also cause asthma and other long-term respiratory issues. 


There hasn't been as much research on the long-term effects of 3rd hand smoke as 2nd hand smoke so we do know the full scale yet, but like 2nd hand smoke, most of its effects will take years to manifest.


Does This Really Apply To Me?

Now the good news is that the study above was fairly extreme with 8 hours of smoke being pumped into the room every day. Since almost all smokers know the dangers of 2nd hand smoke, there are few people who smoke inside like that anymore.


However, the study does show how long it takes to get rid of all the carcinogens and chemicals that are found in cigarette smoke, and how dangerous it can be. Though you might not smoke in the house when the children are around, what about when you are alone?


When it's cold and raining (which in the UK can be a lot of the time!) or when you are alone in the car, it can be very tempting to light up... and all those chemicals and toxins add up.


So how can you know if 3rd hand smoke is affecting your kids or your four-legged friends? Use your nose! That smell of stale smoke that lingers into your carpets, clothes and furniture is the easiest way to know if there are chemicals still around.


Dr. Winickoff, professor of paediatrics at Harvard Medical School said in a 2009 interview about 3rd hand smoke, "Your nose isn’t lying, the stuff is so toxic that your brain is telling you: ’Get away.’”


What You Can Do To Help

One of the biggest issues with 3rd hand smoke is that so little people know about it. You might have heard of it, but most of us still wouldn't think twice of smoking inside if we are alone.


Just spreading the word of what 3rd hand smoke can do would help, as there isn't near enough awareness of this problem.


In fact, in Dr. Winickoff’s study he found only 43% of smokers thought that breathing air in a room today where people smoked yesterday can harm the health of children. If that number even roughly represents all smokers that means over half the smokers in the world are exposing people, especially children and pets, to 3rd hand smoke without knowing.


The biggest change you can make to reduce 3rd hand smoke it to stop smoking! This may seem obvious but without cigarettes there wouldn't be any 3rd hand smoke.


But if you are like many smokers and can't stop, why not give E-cigarettes a try. E-Cigarettes only produce vapour and contain none of the chemicals found in cigarettes (apart from nicotine of course), they physically cannot produce any of the toxins or carcinogens that makes 3rd hand smoke dangerous.


So if you are a smoker, or know a smoker, put down those nasty cigarettes and get started today with e-cigarettes and stop 3rd hand smoke! And you can get a starter kit for just £9.99 (with free UK shipping). To give it a try click here -

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