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Third-hand smoke poses health risk

Recent research cautions about the health hazards of 'third-hand smoke'. The invisible remains of cigarette smoke that settle on carpeting, clothing, furniture and other surfaces after the cigarette has been extinguished are called third-hand smoking.

Third-hand smoke poses health risk

Recent research cautions about the health hazards of 'third-hand smoke'. The invisible remains of cigarette smoke that settle on carpeting, clothing, furniture and other surfaces after the cigarette has been extinguished are called third-hand smoking.

The residues from cigarette smoke that linger on fabrics, papers, carpets and other surfaces pose a larger health hazard than previously understood. To find out whether third-hand smoke affects human health, researchers in Israel examined the interactions between nicotine and indoor air on a variety of different materials, including cellulose (a component of wood furniture), cotton and paper to simulate typical indoor surfaces.

It was found that the nicotine interacting with ozone, in indoor air and other surfaces, creates even more health hazards from third-hand smoke than previously believed, especially for young children who are more likely to be crawling on floors and carpets and place objects in their mouth. Thus, secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from nicotine-oxidant reactions indoors may play a role in the observed adverse health effects associated with passive smoking.

According to the researchers, third-hand smoke has more biological interaction, potential pro-inflammatory effects, higher particle deposition probability in the deeper respiratory regions and easier translocation within the body. Given the toxicity of some of the identified products and that small particles may contribute to adverse health effects, the above study indicates that exposure to third-hand smoke may pose additional health risks.

Therefore the findings suggest that the third-hand smoke augments the risk of respiratory illnesses among non-smokers but further research is still needed on the subject.
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