Children are especially vulnerable to thirdhand smoke..

December 30, 2008 - Thirdhand (third hand, 3rd) smoke is the term used for smoke contamination that lingers after the cigarette is stubbed out. Residual toxins remain in the air, on surfaces including clothing, and even in household dust. Children are especially vulnerable to thirdhand smoke exposure because they breathe near, crawl on, play with, touch, and put in their mouths contaminated surfaces.

Lead study author Dr. Jonathan Winickoff said that particulate matter from tobacco smoke has been proven toxic and that according to the National Toxicology Program, these 250 poisonous gases, chemicals, and metals include hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, butane, ammonia, toluene -- found in paint thinners, arsenic, lead, chromium, cadmium, and polonium-210 -- a highly radioactive carcinogen. Eleven of the compounds are classified as Group 1 carcinogens, the most dangerous, Winickoff said.

"When you smoke -- anyplace -- toxic particulate matter from tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothing," Winickoff said in a statement. "When you come into contact with your baby, even if you're not smoking at the time, the baby comes in contact with those toxins. And if you breastfeed, the toxins will transfer to your baby in your breast milk."

Winickoff's team found that this was the case. In a survey of more than 1,500 households, 95.4 percent of nonsmokers versus 84.1 percent of smokers agreed that second-hand smoke harms the health of children, and 65.2 percent of nonsmokers versus 43.3 percent of smokers believed that third-hand smoke harms children. Strict rules prohibiting smoke in the home were more prevalent among nonsmokers – 88.4 percent versus 26.7 percent – but among both smokers and non-smokers, participants who agreed that environmental smoke was harmful to children's health were more likely to have restrictions on smoking in their homes.

PAPER:Jonathan P. Winickoff, MD, MPH et al., Beliefs About the Health Effects of "Thirdhand" Smoke and Home Smoking Bans, PEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 1 January 2009, pp. e74-e79 (doi:10.1542/peds.2008-2184), ABSTRACT..

Parental tobacco use is a serious health issue for all the family members. To learn more - Click.

Reference: 'Thirdhand' smoke beliefs linked to home smoking bans, Posted by Elizabeth Cooney,, 12/29/2008; Survey Highlights Beliefs About Children's Risks from 'Third-Hand Smoke' by Michael Smith, North American Correspondent, MedPage Today, 12/30/2008 and Third-hand smoke: Another reason to quit smoking, EurekAlert, 12/29/2008.