Thirdhand Smoke: Worse Than Secondhand?

Thirdhand smoke poses real health risks

Thirdhand smoke — yes, not secondhand — is being researched as a potential health hazard. Thirdhand smoke is the smell of smoke on clothing, furniture, or carpeting, and may increase health risks of individuals who do not smoke.

While many believed secondhand smoke was where it stopped, thirdhand smoke is now being explained as a large contributor to many health and pollution risks.

The study can be found in the Environmental Science & Technology journal.

For the study, researchers analyzed how nicotine interacts with common indoor surfaces like cotton, paper, and wood. Nicotine was shown to form possibly toxic elements on many of the surfaces that can be found in almost every home.

Possibly the largest area of concern is carpeting as young children crawl on the carpet. Additional risk increases are sitting on “smoke infested” furniture or eating food that has been previously exposed to thirdhand smoke.

Due to the toxicity levels of chemicals found in thirdhand smoke, researchers believe it contains real health risks, more than originally believed.

Extended exposure may lead to asthma and reduced white blood cell counts.