As a kid, we are taught in school that cigarettes are bad for us. The chemicals and nicotine contained with a single cigarette can cause several health-related illnesses and even death. Probably about the same time, we are taught that second hand smoke can also have a grave effect on those who are simply in the presence of someone with a lit cigarette, second hand smoke. But, what wasn’t a focus in grade school (at least back then) was the dangers and effects of third hand smoke. In fact, many people don’t even know what this type of smoke is and are somewhat panicked to learn that there is another way in which cigarettes can be harmful to other people around them.
What is third hand smoke?
Third hand smoke actually smoke and cigarette residue that can stay behind in areas where a smoker has been. Smoke, ash and other debris can stick to carpets, fabrics and on top of surfaces, exposing individuals for years to this third hand smoke. Simply vacuuming and dusting doesn’t remove this debris from a surface, in fact most of the time it is hidden deep within the items that we surround ourselves with daily. For this reason, even if a person quits smoking, it can actually still expose those around them to potentially harmful chemicals that can be dangerous overtime, just like second hand smoke can be (perhaps not as potent however).
According to research reported in MailOnline, third hand smoke has been linked to causing genetic damage within the cells of those that are exposed to it. Additionally, it has been found that the third hand smoke residue within and on surfaces can actually become more harmful as time goes on and it is left within surfaces. More and more research has is taking place to identify the additional health risks of third hand smoke and to make it a more widely publicized effect of smoking.
How can you battle third hand smoke?
If you truly want to battle third hand smoke, the best way is to steer clear of places where a smoker has lived or spends excessive amounts of time. Sitting in the non-smoking section of a restaurant is wise. Also, if you move into a home or apartment where a smoker lived you want to be sure that it is re-carpeted and re-painted prior to bringing your family into this new residence. Keep in mind that even though you cannot see this residue, it can still be present in an environment, so deep cleaning and revitalizing surfaces throughout a home that has been smoked in is necessary to ensure it has been removed.
Protecting yourself and your family from the dangers of third hand smoke is just as important as protecting them from second and firsthand smoke. While you might not be able to see this type of smoke, you certainly don’t want to run the risk of harming yourself and your family. Third hand smoke is simply another form of smoke that you want to avoid entirely.