Thirdhand smoke: an unknown threat

London, ON, Canada / 106.9 The X

It’s hard to believe smoking could get any worse, but it seems like it has.

Thirdhand smoking is far less known that it’s first and second hand counterparts, but it’s just as dangerous.

The effect is created as the nicotine from a cigarette lingers in the environment, getting absorbed into clothing, carpet, and furniture.

Sarah Neil is a nurse with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, and explains how that residual smoke can easily be transmitted.

“Small children, they tend to breathe faster, they’re smaller, and they tend to spend most of their time on the floor where a lot of the thirdhand smoke can be,” says Neil. “They tend to put their hands in their mouth, they put their toys in their mouth, so if any of these residues are left on any of those surfaces, they can actually ingest some of those chemicals, they can inhale the chemicals, and the chemicals can also be absorbed through their skin.”

Cleaning those surfaces isn’t as easy as it sounds, though. Neil warns that if you choose to smoke inside, then you accept the challenging task of

“The thirdhand smoke, once it gets into buildings, it can be very hard to remove,” Neil says. “It can embed itself in the drywall, in the walls, and it takes a lot of work and a lot of time to actually get those materials out.”

But taking on that responsibility is a crucial one, and with the lives and health of young children and even pets at risk, it should be an easy decision.


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