You may have never hear of third-hand smoke, but third-hand smoke is a real and deadly thing. Third-hand smoke is the tobacco residue left in a room where a cigarette has been smoked, has the ability to be absorbed into the body due to the small size of the particles.
All smoking residue, whether first, second or third-hand, can be possible causes for asthma and lung cancer, per a study in the Journal Environmental Science and Technology.
The small particles of third-hand smoke have an added danger, as well. Their ability to be taken up and breathed in through dust or consumed through food also increases their absorption. They can linger for months, continually being pulled into the air by ozone and making those in the environment even more susceptible to the dangerous chemicals in cigarette smoke for an extended time.
Though senior researcher Dr. Yael Dubowski acknowledges in an article with WebMD that secondhand smoke poses a much greater danger, he also warned that “exposure to harmful compounds via third-hand smoke and third-hand smoke transformations is an additional source for skin and lung exposure.”
According to Mayo Clinic, studies show that third-hand smoke clings to hair, skin, clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles and other surfaces, even long after smoking has stopped. Infants, children and nonsmoking adults may be at risk of tobacco-related health problems when they inhale, ingest or touch substances containing third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke is a relatively new concept, and researchers are still studying its possible dangers.
Those who live in a residence that may contain cigarette residue may benefit from taking extra health precautions and having life insurance coverage should they contract a terminal illness from the particles. Third-hand smoke is a real and deadly thing and precautions need to be made for it.