There’s a rising concern over the hazardous effects thirdhand smoke is having on unsuspecting peoples health.
The chemicals from smoke that linger on surfaces when secondhand smoke has cleared is what thirdhand smoke is. Months or even years after smoke has dissipated from a room, hazardous residue can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled and ingested.
Nancy Viney, Northern Healths Regional Nursing Lead for Tobacco Reduction says, this left over residue is extremely harmful to babies.
“Young children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of thirdshand smoke because they touch lots of things, they are crawling around on carpets and floors, they are also exposed through their skin and then put their hands in their mouth.”
Older buildings, prior to the 2008 ban, could potentially posses residue if they haven’t been properly cleaned.
“When you walk into a place where somebody has been smoking you can usually smell it, and if you’re smelling it that’s the gas coming off of the thirdhand smoke. You can wipe it down, disinfect and paint, but unless you thoroughly clean it, it does remain.”
Doctors have known about thirdhand smoke for a few years said Viney, but there hasn’t been extensive research on the subject compared to secondhand smoke.