Health Desk: The dangers of smoking and exposure to smoke have been well-documented for many years. Researchers have recently discovered third-hand smoke. It is the residue of tobacco smoke that remains on surfaces and in the air after a cigarette is smoked. It sticks to almost everything in a smoking area, including skin, hair, clothes, furniture, floors, dust, car seats, and pet hair and feathers. Inhaling third-hand smoke gases or touching contaminated surfaces can expose people to these chemicals.
Effects of third-hand smoke on children:
Young children and newborns are particularly vulnerable to the effects of third-hand smoke because of their developing bodies and their tendency to touch and put things in their mouths. They also spend a lot of time indoors, which exposes them to smoke on surfaces and in the air.
Third-hand smoke in young children can cause asthma, ear infections, respiratory infections, persistent coughs, and brain damage. The Department of Psychology at San Diego State University found that ex-smokers’ homes retain third-hand smoke for six months after quitting. Nicotine and NNK, a tobacco-specific carcinogen, were also found in people’s homes after they quit smoking.
Ways to reduce third-hand smoking residue and avoid any health hazards:
o Wash your clothes, bedding, and home fabrics. Depending on pollution, fabrics may need repeated washing.
- Regularly dusting and cleaning surfaces reduces third-hand smoke. Dilute and use cleaning solutions according to manufacturer instructions.
- Have carpets cleaned professionally.
- Clean toys frequently.
- Discard contaminated items that cannot be cleaned.
- Encouraging smokers to wash their hands often and before touching children.
- Not allowing smoking in the home or car and ensuring that no one smokes near children or pets.
It is also important to note that it is impossible to completely remove third-hand smoke residue, so it is the best to prevent exposure to it in the first place by educating the smokers about the dangers of third-hand smoke and encouraging them to quit.
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