We all know the hazards of smoking. The person actually smoking is at risk for
many health problems. Second hand smoke can lead to emphysema and lung cancer.
But have you heard of 3rd hand smoke (THS)??
This is the less visible type which consists of all the particles and chemicals
that land on basically every surface in the smoking area. It can be on the
person’s clothes, in their hair, on the floor, and on the furniture.
There are 11 types of
chemicals that when left on surfaces, are considered carcinogens. They’re is
all bad because these are cancer causing. “Off-gasing” is the terms for when
the chemicals have landed on the surface but then release back into the air as
gas. It seems toxins are released everywhere from cigarettes. These toxins can
then interact with other chemicals in the environment. Toxins then are either
inhaled, ingested (they land on food), or absorbed through the skin. Overtime,
the toxins continue to accumulate and become more and more harmful. Let’s say a
person smokes in their car, obviously these chemicals just keep piling up.
Children are the biggest
victims of THS. Children sit and play on the floor. They put their fingers in
their mouths and touch surfaces.
It is important to be
adamant about not smoking in your home or vehicle to avoid THS. Studies have
shown in a house left unoccupied for 2 months, these chemicals were still
present. Acidic cleaners, especially vinegar, can help with some of the
So what is the best
solution to avoid third hand smoke?? Well, quitting smoking. Nicotine is highly
addictive and studies have shown it is nearly as addictive as heroin.
Smokers enjoy the “kick”
from inhaling nicotine. The head change from nicotine entering the bloodstream,
releases adrenaline and creates a euphoric feeling with dopamine.
Smoking doesn’t just affect
the smoker. The cigarette residue remains on clothing, drapes, furniture, just
to name a few surfaces. Opening the windows or turning on a fan don’t eliminate
the problem. You don’t want to serve a nice dinner on a thirdhand smoke residue
kitchen table. The best solution is to maintain a smoke free lifestyle. Even stepping
outside to smoke is not the right answer. It is polite to share, but not when
it comes to smoking and it’s plethora of harmful side effects.
About the Author
Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY’s Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she’s an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She’s also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.