QUEZON City, Philippines (February 14) – “Cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health”. It might be the most famous advocacy campaign related to cigarette smoking. With the primary purpose of informing the public on how hazardous it is to smoke or to be exposed to smoke being emitted by cigarette or tobacco. It is a fact that cigarette smoking does not just harm the actual smoker but also those that are indirectly inhaling or ingesting the smoke that the smokers release.
Past studies have established the danger of smoking; some of which are heart disease, cancer and even early death. Being the smoker, your life is considered at risk already for you are considered to be affected by first hand smoke. However, the dangers of smoking are not only confined to the smoker; those that are around you when you smoke is automatically affected too by second hand smoke.
But the danger does not stop there. Recent studies shows that there is another danger which rooted from smoking, and that it the “third hand smoke”. A relatively new term, third hand smoke is coined in a study published in a medical journal in the United States of America called “Pediatrics”. It describes the interaction of tobacco smoke with indoor surfaces. It is the remnants of the smoke; the gases, particles and nicotine left on clothes, hair, carpets, furniture and other surfaces that linger in the air long after the smoker has crushed the cigarette. Those remains impose their own danger, and everyone might be affected as long as you share living space with a cigarette smoker.
Published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the study’s findings suggest that the so-called third-hand smoke augments the risk of respiratory illnesses among non-smokers. The researchers found that the nicotine interacting with ozone, in indoor air and other surfaces creates another health hazard, especially for young children who are more likely to be crawling on floors and carpets and place objects in their mouth. In addition, the toxic mix of third hand smoke contains carcinogens or cancer-causing substances, posing a potential health hazard to nonsmokers who are exposed to it.
According to Lowell Dale, M.D., a doctor from Mayo Clinic in California, third hand smoke residue builds up on surfaces over time and resists normal cleaning. It cannot be eliminated by airing out rooms, opening windows, using fans or air conditioners, or confining smoking to only certain areas of a home. In contrast, secondhand smoke is the smoke and other airborne products that come from being close to burning tobacco products, such as cigarettes. The only way to protect nonsmokers from third hand smoke is to create a smoke-free environment, whether that’s your private home or vehicle, or in public places, such as hotels and restaurants. However, third hand smoke is a relatively new concept, and researchers are still studying its possible dangers.
(written by Aronica Azores, edited by Jay Paul Carlos, additional research by Vince Alvin Villarin)