" /> Third hand Smoke - Blog by Zidane Hamid - Tobacco Free Pakistan

Third hand Smoke and its effects

third hand smoke

Apparently ignorable habit, smoking has so many adverse and long lasting effects on ourselves, our human fellows and our environment. But the real sad thing is that the person who smokes, harms other non-smokers in a variety of deadliest ways. Second hand smoke (SHS), a way of effecting non-smokers is somehow known to the people but another way that can damage the health of non-smokers and smokers as well is Third hand smoke. Throughout my tobacco free campaign, I tried hard to make people aware about the dangers of smoking and chain of destruction that starts from cultivating the tobacco and goes on till the cigarette butts decompose.

During this journey he horrifying shocking thing for me is that the smoking is such a deep destructing thing that even the ash, the chemical residue that gets attach to the person’s clothes, hair, skin, carpets, wall, furniture, cushions and beds is also a health disturbing thing. Third hand smoke consists of tobacco smoke that has gases, carcinogenic and heavy metals like arsenic, lead and cyanides. Highly toxic substance like nicotine has ability to cling the walls and furniture. The gases of third hand smoke has ability to get absorb in dust, carpets and other fabrics. These harmful substances brew has ability to re emit back into that particular air to form harmful compounds that remain in air for longer time after stopping smoking. It may be felt as the particular smell that comes from a smokers and is ignored but actually it is an indication that the residual tobacco toxins are present. Cigarette smoke has around 4000 chemicals and 50 carcinogens and the actual time taken by toxins to disappear from fabrics in still unknown but it is sure that these toxins do not vanish even after weeks. A research was carried out at San Diego State University’s Department of Psychology about the duration of second hand toxins on any material. They found that those people who had left smoking, their homes remained polluted with third hand smoke particles for approximately 6 month after they quit smoking. The toxic chemicals on clothes spread everywhere the smoker goes and the ordinary ventilation is not enough to get rid of it. It means that the every bit of cigarette you smoke, the every puff you take, is disturbing and damaging the humans around and the environment as well.

In short, third hand smoke can take 3 routes for destruction, either it can cling to the clothes or surrounding things, or it can be re emitted in air to produce more toxins or it can react with other chemicals to form new carcinogens as when third hand smoke reacts with nitrous oxide from gas appliances and car engines, it forms nitrosamine that is a carcinogen. The deadliest toxins present in third hand smoke are hydrocyanic acid that is used in chemical weapons, butane that is used in lighter fluid, toluene of paint thinner, arsenic lead, carbon monoxide and even a highly radioactive carcinogen polonium-210 along with 11 other carcinogens. People may get affected by inhaling third hand smoke, ingesting it along with food or their skin can absorb the particles.

The risks of third hand smoke are usually hidden but they can be more than second and first hand smoke as the toxins are deposited on the things for a longer time. Among the victims, children are mostly effected by third hand smoke as they play on floor, touch and put in mouth the things contaminated with smoke toxins and they try to swallow the pieces of cigarettes if they find. The infants and children who are exposed to third hand smoke have more risk of having cognitive deficits and they may have some difficulties in reading. The risk of having lung cancer is increased by 25% in those children who are exposed to third hand smoke. Recently scientists have researched that third hand smoke is also linked with pulmonary and respiratory diseases in infants and children. There is an increased risk of asthma and middle air infection in those children who are affected by third hand smoke. These illnesses ultimately lead the children to weak physique as well.

The dangers are not limited to the children only, adults also get serious health issues with third hand smoke. It interferes with the healing of wounds and disturbs the pattern of wound healing. Molecular changes in cell which lead to insulin resistance is also suspected and biological changes in cell causing fibrosis are also suspected as a result of exposure to third hand smoking. The risks of blood clot and heart attack is also linked with third hand smoke. The concept is relatively new but the researches about effects of third hand smoking are not bringing the any good news at all.

The only way to save the humanity and environment from third hand smoke hazards is zero tolerance to the smoking. People smoke at public places and leave by thinking that they are just relaxing their mood and nothing else. But a non-smoker when sits in the same place gets the same or even more amount of toxins than the smoker. We do not even know about third hand smoke at any place but it goes on harming us silently. It is more serious issue as the time is not healing of third hand smoke, with the passage of time toxins often form new harmful chemicals. The only best way to save yourself and your family is that if you are a smoker than do not wait for anything, just quit it now. Feel for those wretched people who do not even know about dangers of smoking and are putting their lives and their families into well of destruction. Seeing this unawareness, I strongly aimed to reach as many people as I can to tell them that you are destroying your beautiful life and health for just a thing that has not even a single way of benefit. Each time when I address the people about tobacco hazards, it is overwhelming to see that people are alive, they listen and know, and they quit the dirty habit. The journey is going on! Let’s join hands together to contribute positively in our society and country!