Secondhand Smoke (cont.)

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What is thirdhand smoke?

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Thirdhand smoke exposure is a new concept; it is exposure to many of the toxic agents in smoke that have accumulated (as residue) in clothing, drapes, rugs, furniture, dust, and other items due to secondhand smoke. The toxic agents, deposited in and on items from secondhand smoke, can be absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes of non-smokers, especially by infants and young children. Prevention of secondhand smoke exposure can prevent thirdhand smoke exposure.

Secondhand Smoke At A Glance

  • Secondhand smoke refers to tobacco smoke that is passively breathed in by people in the vicinity of a person who is smoking.

  • Secondhand smoke causes significant health problems, including cancer.

  • Children are particularly vulnerable to secondhand smoke, experiencing an increase in lung infections, bronchitis, worsening of asthma, and increased risk for SIDS.

  • Legislation to prevent smoking in workplaces and public buildings is on the rise as the public becomes more informed about the risks of secondhand smoke.

American Cancer Society. "Secondhand Smoke."

American Lung Association. "Smoking restrictions in U.S. States."

National Cancer Institute. "Secondhand Smoke."

Sleiman, M., Gundel, L., Pankow, J., et al. "Formation of carcinogens indoors by surface-mediated reactions of nicotine with nitrous acid, leading to potential thirdhand smoke hazards." PNAS; doi:10.1073/pnas.0912820107

Last Editorial Review: 2/26/2010

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Secondhand Smoke - Experience Question: Please share your experience with secondhand smoke.
Secondhand Smoke - Lung Diseases Question: Do you have a lung disease related to secondhand smoke? Please discuss your symptoms and experience.
Secondhand Smoke - What to do Question: If you are a non-smoker, in what ways have you limited exposure to secondhand smoke?
Secondhand Smoke - Thirdhand Smoke Question: If you understand the concept of thirdhand smoke, describe how you've dealt with the accumulation.


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