We all know the term "second hand smoke". This is smoke that is coming from a cigarette (or person) that ends up being breathed in by another person. It's also known as passive smoking.
But now a new term has been coined for passive smoking and it's called "third hand smoke".
Third hand smoke is the smoke (and subsequent carcinogens and other poisons) that end up on our clothes, in our hair, our furniture and carpets. These poisons are considered to be third hand smoke, because they can actually end up in our bodies, and can cause damage to our health.
Children, in particular, are considered at risk for third hand smoke, as they tend to play on carpets and rugs, as well as jump on sofas (my own kids being a prime example of that), cushions and even play with curtains and bedspreads.
Researchers at Boston's MassGeneral Hospital for Children coined the term and many hope that the evidence that these toxins and heavy metals are harmful to children will promote a ban on smoking in homes that have children.
For adults, as well as children, it's important to always request a non-smoking room. Even if no-one is smoking in a room with you, a room that contained recent smokers will have beds, carpets and furniture full of these poisons. Something frequent traveler's may need to note.
Researchers at MassGeneral are aware that most people know about the dangers of second hand smoke, and would like them to be equally aware of the dangers of third hand smoke. Recent studies would suggest that few of us know that third hand smoke is even a factor, when we think about smoking in general.
On a personal note, I always write in the memo section when booking hotels on line (even when they say non-smoking rooms are available, that's not always the case) that my children have "SEVERE upper respiratory allergies and health concerns - non-smoking room CRUCIAL" and it always works. I'm not sure if they check out my fabulously healthy kids as we check in, and raise their eyebrows but anyway...
The study by researchers at MassGeneral is in this months Pediatrics journal.
Are you aware of the subject of third hand smoke? Do you think smoking should be banned in homes that have children?
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