what is third-hand smoke?

WHAT IS THIRD-HAND SMOKE?

Third-hand smoke

Yuri B – Germany – Pixabay

We all know that SMOKING is bad for us.  Most of us are even aware that second-hand smoke — other’s smoke that we inhale from the air around us — can be equally bad.  But what about third-hand smoke?  I find that most people have never even heard of third-hand smoke even though it can be just as serious a problem as the others — or as some studies are saying; even more so.  Here is the abstract of one such study by over twenty doctors and researchers from the University of California, Riverside (Cigarette Smoke Toxins Deposited on Surfaces: Implications for Human Health) from the January issue of the medical journal, PLoS ONE.
“Scientists do know that babies, toddlers, and children are most vulnerable to the toxic effects of tobacco smoke residue. They crawl on rugs, fall asleep on carpets, and teethe on furniture, all of which could be saturated with third-hand smoke.”  From the March 20, 2014 issue of the National Geographic Daily News.

Cigarette smoking remains a significant health threat for smokers and nonsmokers alike. Secondhand smoke (SHS) is intrinsically more toxic than directly inhaled smoke. Recently, a new threat has been discovered – Thirdhand smoke (THS) – the accumulation of SHS on surfaces that ages with time, becoming progressively more toxic. THS is a potential health threat to children, spouses of smokers and workers in environments where smoking is or has been allowed. The goal of this study is to investigate the effects of THS on liver, lung, skin healing, and behavior, using an animal model exposed to THS under conditions that mimic exposure of humans. THS-exposed mice show alterations in multiple organ systems and excrete levels of NNAL (a tobacco-specific carcinogen biomarker) similar to those found in children exposed to SHS (and consequently to THS). In liver, THS leads to increased lipid levels and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a precursor to cirrhosis and cancer and a potential contributor to cardiovascular disease. In lung, THS stimulates excess collagen production and high levels of inflammatory cytokines, suggesting propensity for fibrosis with implications for inflammation-induced diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. In wounded skin, healing in THS-exposed mice has many characteristics of the poor healing of surgical incisions observed in human smokers. Lastly, behavioral tests show that THS-exposed mice become hyperactive. The latter data, combined with emerging associated behavioral problems in children exposed to SHS/THS, suggest that, with prolonged exposure, they may be at significant risk for developing more severe neurological disorders. These results provide a basis for studies on the toxic effects of THS in humans and inform potential regulatory policies to prevent involuntary exposure to THS.

Amazing!  If you are still smoking in your house or in a vehicle — especially if you have children or babies around, you may as well just give the kid a cigarette and be done with it (HERE). Notice the highlighted portion above talking about “fibrosis“.  I’ve probably beat this horse to death already, but I’ll take another crack at it if it will help you understand.  FIBROSIS = SCAR TISSUE = DEGENERATION. Period.

My clinical work revolves around solving problems created by SCAR TISSUE & FIBROSIS.  It’s what I do all day, every day (HERE and HERE).   However, if you get Scar Tissue in your lungs, you’re up a creek (HERE).  The only thing I can promise is a slow, painful death, gasping for air like a fish out of water.  When it comes to third-hand smoke, I could have given you several dozen studies on the topic.  Just trust me when I tell you that research on this topic is abundant, and each published study is scarier than the one that came out before it.

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