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Third-Hand Smoke Harms Babies Lungs

By HERWriter
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For years, women have been warned not to smoke while pregnant, and to stay away from other people who were smoking to avoid breathing in second-hand smoke. Now researchers at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) have added another warning for pregnant women: stay away from third-hand smoke to help protect their unborn children’s lungs.

Smoke, whether from cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, is known to contain chemicals that can damage lungs and cause cancer. People who smoke draw these dangerous chemicals directly into their lungs. Second-hand smoke is the left-over smoke floating in the air around a smoker. It may come directly from the cigarette, or may be in the air exhaled by a smoker. Second-hand smoke also contains nicotine and other cancer-causing chemicals.

Third-hand smoke is the residue of nicotine and other toxins from smoke that become trapped in the walls, ceilings, and floors of rooms where smoking took place. Research has shown that third-hand smoke can remain for up to two months after smoking took place. When this dusty residue is disturbed, it can become airborne and again pose a threat to anyone who breathes it in.

Researchers at LA BioMed concluded that third-hand smoke inhaled by a pregnant woman can be as serious for the development of an unborn baby’s lungs as breathing in second-hand smoke is to an infant or toddler. One of the authors of the BioMed study, Dr. Virender Rehan, called third-hand smoke a "stealth toxin" because it can be left behind by a smoker and cause damage to someone who doesn’t know it is there. He said, "Pregnant women should avoid homes and other places where third-hand smoke is likely to be found to protect their unborn children against the potential damage these toxins can cause to the developing infants’ lungs."

Damage caused by third-hand smoke during lung development can cause asthma and other respiratory problems that will last a lifetime. This study also shows that the strategy of going outside to smoke is not effective for protecting an unborn baby since third-hand smoke will also cling to clothing and be carried back into the house.

Add a Comment7 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I have been a smoker for many years, I am now embarrassed to say that I never thought about how my smoking habit could be hurting others. I have never wanted to stop smoking but the negative health issues that smoking can cause have often played on my mind. I tried an ecig starter kit from http://cigees.com/ and a few months later I have totally given up regular smoking.
I feel confident using my ecig in public and I have not received any bad comments about third hand smoke. I wish I had started these years ago now. Oh well better late than never.

December 15, 2013 - 1:36pm
EmpowHER Guest

When I had my first child I have to quit smoking, so decided to use electronic cigarettes, so I would never be tempted to smoke again and harm my baby. But I asked http://www.cloudcig.co.uk/ and they were really helpful. Apparently there is no 2nd hand smoke, but even then I wouldn't risk it! But very interesting read.

November 29, 2013 - 7:43am
EmpowHER Guest

this is intersting to see as i have struggled to help my son throught his life . his mum smoked weed like a machine drank like a fish and smoked faggs inbertween. for ten years i stayed in an abusive relationship for one reson i could try to stop the verbal abuse that my sons mother so freely used to raise children and help her understand that if you smoke weed and faggs all day in the house you are forcing our son to passivly smoke if that is not bad enough when we found out that she was pregnant i felt that i was not happy to bring a child into this world unless we both could agree that smoking weed and drinking alcohol when pregnant are wrong and if one does this its unfair that something so small can be poiesend willingly and have the attitude that sorry i dont believe in abbortion but if you dnt want anything to do with the baby you can walk away its my house if you dnt like the way im going to bring a child into the world when i smoke and drank with two of my other children well one was stiibirth but that was one of those things in life nothing to do with smoking and drinking.sorry im getting sidetracked what a mother inhials and drinks goes direct to the unborn child how can mothers be allowed to have children when they do not want them and they still have more rights than men when a couple cant agree at the start of a childs life we will both do the best we can do to make shure we have givin our child every possible chance of a healthy start in a fck up world then i believe that a baby has no foundations on this plannet and the kindest thing is termination children need to be wanted it is not fair.

October 15, 2012 - 8:02pm
EmpowHER Guest

As I read every details in your article I somehow realize that smoking is bad even though I am addictive into it. There are other ways or an alternative I used such e cig which I get from http://www.skycig.co.uk, yet I don't know if this thing can lessen the effect of regular one. I learn a lot when you mention about Third-Hand Smoke.

July 30, 2012 - 8:13pm
EmpowHER Guest

This doesn't state about infants outside of the womb. My sister was told third and fourth hand smoke can cause asthma in my nieces/nephews who are one years old and two years old. Is this accurate?!?!

April 11, 2012 - 3:49pm
EmpowHER Guest

I love this article. I remember my son sneezing and itching and simply struggling to breathe when he was at Grandma's house. She didn't smoke around him, it was simply being near her things. Her couch, her shirt, her hair, it all triggered a reaction. She always rolled her eyes and acted like we were all making it up and that he must have a cold, etc...
It was pathetic. She NEVER looked at the way her grandson was reacting because it was too confronting for her and she would've had to acknowledge the impact. I always hoped there would be a study and this is not the first I've seen, but each time I see one- I feel so validated. Hooray for progress.

June 28, 2011 - 10:47am

Funny how nowhere in the entire article about this study does it mention how the study was conducted and who the subjects were.
If you read the study itself however, you'll find that the study was done on the fetuses of FEMALE RATS. They basically killed the moms, extracted the unborn rats, yanked out their lungs, chopped those lungs up into tiny one millimeter cubes, and then soaked them in a solution of compounds with concentrations perhaps hundreds, perhaps millions, perhaps trillions of times more virulent than any unborn child's lungs would ever encounter in a standard situation from so-called "thirdhand smoke" even if you DID yank ou their lungs and chop them up!
And yet this study is being used, with help from the authors' statements like “Pregnant women should avoid homes and other places where thirdhand smoke is likely to be found to protect their unborn children against the potential damage these toxins can cause..."
When one considers the harms to human life, social fabric, and family structure that have been and will be caused by expositions like this the outcome is almost criminally reprehensible. Consider the grandparents who won't be visited by their children this year on Christmas because those children will be fearful of prenatally poisoning their babies' lungs by going to a house where people had smoked ten years previously. If this sort of yellow journalism or "yellow research" is not a crime, it certainly should be.
Michael J. McFadden,
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

May 12, 2011 - 8:17pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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