Mid-way through January, many New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside. I, for one, have been keeping my lab notebook more organized, but my posts have been a bit on the tardy side. For any of you out there resolving to quit smoking this year, maybe this will be a motivational boost. Scientists have found that not only second-hand, but third-hand smoke could be harming your loved ones.
Third-hand smoke, what’s that?
You know how after someone smokes, you can smell the smoke on them, and also in the place where they smoked? Well that smell is caused by invisible particles left behind while smoking. And these particles are extremely toxic.
What kind of particles?
There are all kinds of toxic particles that come from cigarettes. For example, there’s lead, arsenic, butane and a number of other carcinogens (compounds that increase your risk of developing cancers). These are the same compounds that make smoking so bad for you, but until now it wasn’t really understood that trace amounts are left behind even after the smoke is gone.
So what does this mean for smokers?
Well, it means that blowing smoke away just isn’t enough to protect the people around you. If you smoke in a room or a car, even if you blow the smoke out the window, particles will stay behind and can affect people who come along later. They can also stay on your clothes and belongings. These small particles can have very serious effects on the people around you. It’s not good for adults, but it can be especially serious for children.
So smokers, please think twice about where you are before you light up!
Pediatrics article – the original study
NY Times article – describing the study’s findings
Trying to quit smoking? – Get tips and support on this government run website.
Get more facts – in a report from the surgeon general
Photo by Elfleda