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'Third hand smoke' potentially just as dangerous

Posted Jan 07 2009 2:51pm

Smoking-main_Full You' ve probably heard of "second hand smoke," but did you know that "third hand smoke" can be as potentially dangerous especially to children and pregnant women?

Third hand smoke is made up of ,"toxic particles in cigarette smoke can remain on nearby surfaces, as well as the hair and clothing of the smoker, long after the cigarette has been put out, and small children are susceptible because they are likely to breath in close proximity, or even lick and suck them"

According to the BBC News:

"Professor Jonathan Winickoff, from Massachusetts General Hospital said: "The dangers of third-hand smoke are very real - when you smoke - any place - toxic particulate matter from tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothing.

His team surveyed more than 1,500 households, asking smokers and non-smokers about their attitudes.

They found that while 95% of non-smokers and 85% of smokers agreed that direct inhalation of second-hand smoke was harmful to children, just 65% of non-smokers, and 43% of smokers believed the same for "third-hand" smoke.

Just 26.7% of households which included a smoker had strict rules about not smoking in the home.

Professor Andrew Shennan, from Tommy' s, said the results had "significant implications", particularly for pregnant women, who may have stopped smoking themselves, but are still in contact with others that do.

"It is vital that women are made aware of the possible risks associated with third hand smoke, and alert those around them of the impact it could potentially have on the health of their unborn baby.

"The chemicals in cigarettes are known to significantly increase the risk of serious pregnancy complications."

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