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A New Cigarette Hazard

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Post  czarinaanna Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:03 pm

A New Cigarette Hazard: ‘Third-Hand Smoke’

Published: January 2, 2009

Parents who smoke often open a window or turn on a fan to clear the air for their children, but experts now have identified a related threat to children’s health that isn’t as easy to get rid of: third-hand smoke.

That’s the term being used to describe the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing, not to mention cushions and carpeting, that lingers long after second-hand smoke has cleared from a room. The residue includes heavy metals, carcinogens and even radioactive materials that young children can get on their hands and ingest, especially if they’re crawling or playing on the floor.

Doctors from MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston coined the term “third-hand smoke” to describe these chemicals in a new study that focused on the risks they pose to infants and children. The study was published in this month’s issue of the journal Pediatrics.

“Everyone knows that second-hand smoke is bad, but they don’t know about this,” said Dr. Jonathan P. Winickoff, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

“When their kids are out of the house, they might smoke. Or they smoke in the car. Or they strap the kid in the car seat in the back and crack the window and smoke, and they think it’s okay because the second-hand smoke isn’t getting to their kids,” Dr. Winickoff continued. “We needed a term to describe these tobacco toxins that aren’t visible.”

Third-hand smoke is what one smells when a smoker gets in an elevator after going outside for a cigarette, he said, or in a hotel room where people were smoking. “Your nose isn’t lying,” he said. “The stuff is so toxic that your brain is telling you: ’Get away.’”

The study reported on attitudes toward smoking in 1,500 households across the United States. It found that the vast majority of both smokers and nonsmokers were aware that second-hand smoke is harmful to children. Some 95 percent of nonsmokers and 84 percent of smokers agreed with the statement that “inhaling smoke from a parent’s cigarette can harm the health of infants and children.”

But far fewer of those surveyed were aware of the risks of third-hand smoke. Since the term is so new, the researchers asked people if they agreed with the statement that “breathing air in a room today where people smoked yesterday can harm the health of infants and children.” Only 65 percent of nonsmokers and 43 percent of smokers agreed with that statement, which researchers interpreted as acknowledgement of the risks of third-hand smoke.

The belief that second-hand smoke harms children’s health was not independently associated with strict smoking bans in homes and cars, the researchers found. On the other hand, the belief that third-hand smoke was harmful greatly increased the likelihood the respondent also would enforce a strict smoking ban at home, Dr. Winickoff said.

“That tells us we’re onto an important new health message here,” he said. “What we heard in focus group after focus group was, ‘I turn on the fan and the smoke disappears.’ It made us realize how many people think about second-hand smoke — they’re telling us they know it’s bad but they’ve figured out a way to do it.”

The data was collected in a national random-digit-dial telephone survey done between September and November 2005. The sample was weighted by race and gender, based on census information.

Dr. Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician who heads the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said the phrase third-hand smoke is a brand-new term that has implications for behavior.

“The central message here is that simply closing the kitchen door to take a smoke is not protecting the kids from the effects of that smoke,” he said. “There are carcinogens in this third-hand smoke, and they are a cancer risk for anybody of any age who comes into contact with them.”

Among the substances in third-hand smoke are hydrogen cyanide, used in chemical weapons; butane, which is used in lighter fluid; toluene, found in paint thinners; arsenic; lead; carbon monoxide; and even polonium-210, the highly radioactive carcinogen that was used to murder former Russian spy Alexander V. Litvinenko in 2006. Eleven of the compounds are highly carcinogenic.


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Post  czarinaanna Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:08 pm

Honestly, I feel like people are really overreacting. Obviously "firsthand" smoke can take a toll. I'm skeptical of the claims about "secondhand" (I will admit smoking outside when you have small children might be a good idea). But THIRDhand? Really?? Unless your kids are huffing the carpet for hours a day, I have a hard time believing this.


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A New Cigarette Hazard Empty 4th Hand Smoke

Post  renodraws Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:13 am

Predictions for the the future. 4th hand smoke will be the toxins left behind in a house from smoking that lowers the value of the house, this will allow renters to control smoking in their rental units.

I wonder what is happening to me when I am sleeping on the couch. Lol.


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Post  jbjohn Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:53 am

Third hand smoke lol hahahahahahahaah


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Post  OG PooPiN Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:56 am

ya know?? i wonder how many cigarettes the average cancer patient had smoke DIRECTLY INTO THEIR LUNGS....along with wearing the deadly clothes and sitting on the deadly couch......when they don't get cancer for decades i find it hard to believe that an ADULT could be harmed severely by second much less THIRD


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A New Cigarette Hazard Empty Not of Study on the Effects of 3rd Hand Smoke but a SURVEY of our awareness of it.

Post  renodraws Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:00 pm

Reason.com has picked up the story. HERE
Here is the orignial Study.
Times Article
Eureka Article

The thing is that was lost on me, the first time I read this, was this was not a study to determine how these dangerous chemicals effected Childeren, but to perform a survey to see how many people know what Third Hand Smoke is. This study does not determine levels of chemicals that cause damage to our bodies. It's first sentence is "There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke." This is not a study on the effects of the chemicals that we know are on ciggs, but to see what people think about third hand smoke. For most of the research was from the 2006 Surgeon General Study on second-hand smoke that said that the chemicals in second hand smoke was dangerous. These docs took that and coupled it with the fact that smoke leaves chemicals on surfaces and that chemicals can be absorbed from those surfaces through the skin.

In that Times article(orginally posted), the author of the study uses the logical reasoning that because cigg smoke smells bad is the indicator that it is poison. I can't believe that this the logical reasoning that a researcher is using. Some people think that tobacco smoke smells good especially cigars and pipe tobacco. In Asia, people love the Durian, which is described to smell like "pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock" - from Wikipedia. Sounds like it smells worse that a cigg, but is praised as being a great tasting fruit.

I did a Google search for third hand smoke. There is a Fox News article warning about junk science. USA Today has an article that starts with endoresement of study. Then ends with a call to do a long term study from another scientist. All of the articles are recent, spawning from this survey of awarness. Who does a study to find out how aware the population is with a term that they created? Most of the articles convey aggreement that the off-gasing of tobbacco byproducts is very harmful to your kids.

The NY Times article has only three paragraphs that are talking about the survey. The rest talked about how chemicals are left behind and absorbed. THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS SURVEY LEARNED!!!! It ends with listing the chemicals in smoke including the phrase that one of these chemicals was used to murder someone.

I keep seeing thing about Cotinine, which is the byproduct of the body processing nicotine, levels being 6 times higher in children of smokers that didn't smoke in the house compared to children of non-smokers. I hate these comparision statitics with nothing to compare to. Of course, the level wilWhat is the cotinine levels of the smokers compared to their kids? If a non smoker's kid has 1 unit and the smoker's kid has 6 units, is this an accurate comparison is the smoker's levels are 100? How about 1,000? 10,000?

In the conculusion of the paper, they state what needs to be done to encourage smoking bans and that this info can be incorporated into anti-smoking campagins. This is one more "scientific" study that was started to push forward a preconcived idea - That all smoking should be banned from the comunity.

I have found that the head of the survey, Dr Jonathan Winickoff, runs an anti-smoking website ceasetobacco.org off the Mass General Hospital website.

Bottom Line - Docs already on the bandwagon to elimate cigg smoking in our society that are associated with Harvard created a new term for toxins that are still there after the smoke clears. Then they perform a phone survey to see who knows about their new term. This survey is released and what most journalist take from it is that it has been proven that the absorbtion of chemicals left by cig smoke is dangerous as second hand smoke which we remeber is just as dangerous as smoke directly inhaled in to the lungs that takes years to kill someone.
We need a study to identify how these chemicals are absored via the skin what precentage of them make it into the blood stream and what are the dangerous levels.


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