New Study - children are especially vulnerable to thirdhand smoke..

February 9, 2010 - Scientists say nicotine stains (lingering residue) on clothing, furniture and wallpaper can react with a common indoor pollutant to generate dangerous chemicals called tobacco-specific nitrosamines or TSNAs. In the tests, contaminated surface exposed to "high but reasonable" amounts of the pollutant nitrous acid - emitted by unvented gas appliances and in car exhaust - boosted levels of newly formed TSNAs 10-fold. Substantial traces of TSNAs were also found on the inside surfaces of a truck belonging to a heavy smoker.

The researchers say third-hand smoke is an unappreciated health hazard and suggest a complete ban on smoking in homes and in vehicles to eliminate any risk. These findings raise concerns about exposures to the tobacco smoke residue that has been recently dubbed “thirdhand smoke.” This warning would have to include electronic (e) cigarettes where amounts of nicotine are inhaled and also exhaled.

Children are especially vulnerable to thirdhand smoke..

PAPER: Formation of carcinogens indoors by surface-mediated reactions of nicotine with nitrous acid, leading to potential thirdhand smoke hazards, Mohamad Sleiman,
Lara A. Gundel, James F. Pankow, Peyton Jacob III, Brett C. Singer, and Hugo Destaillats, Proc. National Academy of Sciences - published online before print February 8, 2010, ABSTRACT.., FULL TEXT....

Toxic particles from cigarette smoke can linger on surfaces long after the cigarette has been put out, and small children are particularly susceptible because they are likely to breathe in close proximity, or even lick and suck them, they say. Researcher Lara Gundel, of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said: "Smoking outside is better than smoking indoors but nicotine residues will stick to a smoker's skin and clothing.

"Those residues follow a smoker back inside and get spread everywhere. The biggest risk is to young children. "Dermal uptake of the nicotine through a child's skin is likely to occur when the smoker returns and if nitrous acid is in the air, which it usually is, then TSNAs will be formed." They are now doing more research to better understand what threat, if any, TSNAs pose.

The most important step parents can take to protect their families from the dangers of cigarette smoke is to make their homes and cars smokefree.. Ed Young of Cancer Research UK.

Amanda Sandford of Action on Smoking and Health said: "The harmful effects of second-hand smoke are already well-established but this study adds a new dimension to the dangers associated with smoking and provides further evidence of the need to protect children, in particular, from exposure to tobacco smoke. "The study shows that the residue of smoke on surfaces represents a potential risk for cancer but so far we don't know how big at risk."

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

Reference: Third-hand smoke' could damage health, BBC News, 2/9/2010.