Harmful effects of Second and Thirdhand smoke



Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke that comes from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe, and the smoke breathed out by the smoker. It contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of those chemicals are toxic and about 70 can cause cancer.

It is also known as 'passive smoking' or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), is the inhalation of smoke by persons other than the intended "active" smoker. It occurs when tobacco smoke enters an environment, causing its inhalation by people within that environment.

Secondhand smoke harms both children and adults, there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure; even brief exposure can be harmful to health. It causes many of the same diseases as direct smoking, including cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases. These diseases include;

1. Cancer (Lung cancer, Pancreatic cancer, Cervical cancer, Bladder cancer etc.),
2. Circulatory system diseases (Heart diseases),
3. Lung problems (Risk of asthma)
4. Risk of atherosclerosis (For both active and passive cigarette smoking, Passive smoking is strongly associated with an increased risk of stroke, and this increased risk is disproportionately high at low levels of exposure)
5. Risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
6. Cognitive impairment and dementia: Exposure to secondhand smoke may increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in adults 50 and over. Children exposed to secondhand smoke show reduced vocabulary and reasoning skills when compared with non-exposed children as well as more general cognitive and intellectual deficits.
7. Mental health: Exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with an increased risk of depressive symptoms.
8. During pregnancy (Low birth weight, premature birth, Stillbirth and congenital malformations in children, Maternal exposure to secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects and miscarriage.
9. And more other harmful effects...

In children, secondhand smoke causes effects like; Ear infections, more frequent and severe asthma attacks, Respiratory symptoms (for example, coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath), Respiratory infections (bronchitis and pneumonia), greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and more other harmful effects.

Secondhand smoke can infiltrate into other units through hallways and stairwells. Don't be shy when it comes to your health. Talk to your building manager or your fellows or family members about making your apartment smoke free. It can infiltrate into other units through hallways and stairwells.

In adults who have never smoked, secondhand smoke can cause many harmful effects including the following; Heart disease (Immediate harmful effects on the heart and blood vessels), Lung cancer, Stroke and other more effects.

Evidence shows that inhaled side stream smoke (Secondhand smoke) is about four times more toxic than mainstream smoke.  In order to reduce secondhand smoke exposure, states and communities laws that inhibit smoking should be implemented effectively in indoor areas of workplaces and public places, including restaurants, bars, casinos etc. Also the growing number of households with voluntary smoke-free home rules significant declines in cigarette smoking rates.

You can protect yourself and your family from secondhand smoke by doing the following;

1. Not allowing anyone to smoke anywhere in or near your home
2. Not allowing anyone to smoke in your car, even with the windows down
3. Quitting smoking if you are not already a nonsmoker
4. Teaching your children to stay away from secondhand smoke
5. Being a good role model by not smoking or using any other type of tobacco
6. Making sure your childrens day care center and schools are tobacco-free
7. Seeking out restaurants and other places that do not allow smoking (if your state still allows smoking in public areas)

Thirdhand smoke is the persistent residue resulting from secondhand smoke that accumulates in dust, objects, and on surfaces in homes where tobacco has been used, and is reemitted into air. It is residual nicotine and other chemicals left on indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke.

Thirdhand smoke is environmental tobacco smoke that has oxidized with environmental nitrous acid to create carcinogens not seen in cigarette ingredients or tobacco smoke. The chemicals released in third-hand smoke reacts with indoor pollutants to create a toxic hazard to those exposed, especially children.

When these indoor pollutants (commonly 'Nitrous acid') comes in contact with Nicotine it creates the toxic compounds called 'Carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs)'. Example of one TSNAs is 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridinyl)-1-butanone; a potent lung-specific carcinogen ubiquitous in tobacco smoke and smokers' homes. The carcinogens found in thirdhand smoke (THS) are known as tobacco-specific nitrosamines.

People are exposed to these chemicals by touching contaminated surfaces or breathing in the off-gassing from these surfaces. The toxic compounds, cancer causing compounds (TSNAs) formed after reaction of Nicotine and indoor pollutants, posing a potential health hazard to nonsmokers especially children.

The residue from thirdhand smoke builds up on surfaces over time, the moke clings to clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles and other surfaces long after smoking has stopped.

A study in 2004 measured the levels of nicotine in dust in the homes of three different groups of families. Homes where parents smoked with children present in the home had the highest levels of nicotine found in dust in all rooms of the house, including the rooms of infants and children. Homes where parents attempted to limit exposure of cigarette smoke to their children had lower levels of nicotine found in dust. Homes that had not been smoked in did not contain any traces of nicotine.

A 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that nicotine residue which coats smokers as well as interior car or room surfaces can react with nitrous acid present in the air to create tobacco-specific nitrosamines, carcinogens found in tobacco products. This was demonstrated by spraying what was termed a "high but reasonable" level of nitrous acid (about 412 times the levels typically found in homes) onto cellulose substrates used to wipe the interior of a vehicle that had been heavily smoked in over time.

Similar results were found when cellulose substrates were kept (without wiping) in the same vehicle for three days when smoking occurred. Ensuring ventilation while a cigarette is smoked does not eliminate the deposition of third-hand smoke in an enclosed space, according to the study's authors. The study found that eleven carcinogenic compounds could be found in third-hand smoke, including the radioactive element polonium-210.

A study was done in 2016 to look at how long third-hand smoke stayed in three different fabrics over a timespan of 72 hours and post washing. The three different fiber types included wool, cotton, and polyester. Levels of THS were measured using a self-designed surface acoustic wave gas sensor (SAW) which measures a frequency change when a compound is laid down on the surface of the sensor.

The results of this study found that third-hand smoke does tend to stay in wool the most right after smoking and polyester the least. Wool had the slowest desorption while polyester had the fastest. Also, the study concluded that even though doing laundry and washing these fibers with detergent was an effective way to get rid of some of the smoke, there was still about an average of 300 Hz of THS residue left on all the fibers.

Humans can be exposed to third-hand smoke (THS) through inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion. There are also many surfaces that can accumulate THS compounds. Common surfaces that humans come into contact with daily include couches, furniture, curtains, and car seats. Also can potentially cause the greatest harm to infants and young children because younger children are more likely to put their hands in their mouths or be cuddled up to a smoker with toxins on their skin and clothes. Infants also crawl on the floor and eat from their hands without washing them first, ingesting the toxins into their still developing systems.

Thirdhand smoke can harm your body just like smoking and secondhand smoke can. The following are some harmful effects of thirdhand smoke;

1. May damage DNA
One study found that being exposed to thirdhand smoke may cause damage and breaks in human DNA. Researchers tested human cells in a laboratory rather than actual humans. DNA damage is a real risk and can increase your chances of disease.

2. May cause cancer diseases like lung cancer etc.,
This occur when residue from thirdhand smoke react with airborne chemicals to form carcinogens, Carcinogens are compounds that can cause cancer.

3. More risk to children
Young children who frequently touch objects and then put their hands in their mouths, can increase their exposure to the toxic chemicals.

Thirdhand smoke residue builds up over time on most surfaces it touches. It can remain for weeks, months or even years. It resists normal cleaning methods and you cant air it out of rooms or cars with fans or vacuums.

Therefore it is very difficult to remove residue from thirdhand smoke, may be the only solution is replacing carpets, repainting walls and/or cleaning ventilation systems. So its expensive to completely rid a room of thirdhand smoke and eliminate the risk of exposure to future tenants or owners.

The best solution for managing the dangers of thirdhand smoke is to stop smoking. You need to have a smoke-free environment especially where you live, and its not just about cutting down, but being abstinent.

CONCLUSION
Both second and thirdhand smoke have many relating harmful effects to human health, the only way solution to get rid of the dangers of second and third handsmoke is to 'quit smoking', say "NO SMOKING" to any one who smoking around you, don't be shy!, when you speak openly, can help to make a smoke free environment. If you smoke, never smoke inside your house, because even if you dont smell the smoke anymore, its still there. Still, the best approach is to avoid it completely.

To know more about the danger effects of cigarette smoking CLICK HERE.

If you've any opinions about this article let me know by commenting below, you're welcome!. Don't miss our future posts, See you next time!.

Posted by: Lusubilo A. Mwaijengo

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