New study shows that exposure to third hand smoke is bad for kids

As if protecting our children from the dangers of second hand smoke wasn’t hard enough, now a new study shows that third hand smoke (defined as tobacco residue that clings to surfaces), is also harmful to their health.

This new study, which was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), found that a burning cigarette releases nicotine in the form of a vapor, and then collects and condenses on indoor surfaces, such as carpets, drapes, furniture, and walls. It can linger on these surfaces for months.

Infants and toddlers are particularly at risk to the dangers of third hand smoke because they tend to have such close contact with surfaces like carpet and furniture.

According to the study, opening a window or running a fan will not eliminate the hazard of third hand smoke, nor will smoking outside (the nicotine residue will stick to the smoker’s skin and clothing and will continue to spread as the smoker comes into contact with different surfaces).

If you or someone you know needs help to quit smoking, there are local resources available. The Hawaii State Department of Health website provides information on tobacco prevention and education program.

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