Protect yourself against thirdhand smoke.
Think a smoker lighting up a cigarette alone won’t cause harm to anyone else? Think again. Thirdhand smoke is a newer concept in the world of tobacco-related dangers that you should know about. A result of secondhand smoke, thirdhand smoke is a residue made up of nicotine and other chemicals that is left on indoor surfaces. It can be found on furniture, walls, carpets, curtains, and bedding – and even on skin, clothes, hair, and dust particles.
What’s so bad about thirdhand smoke? Well, it contains carcinogens like arsenic and cyanide. Thirdhand smoke can also react with other compounds in the air to form an even more dangerous toxic mix. When nonsmokers breathe in, touch, or ingest thirdhand smoke, it increases their chance of cancer, asthma attacks, allergic reactions, and other health issues. Babies and children are particularly vulnerable.
Thirdhand smoke sticks around long after the last cigarette was smoked. Researchers say the residue builds up on surfaces over time and can last for years, even decades. And opening a window or normal cleaning won’t help get rid of it. So what can you do about it?
Here are six ways to help you avoid thirdhand smoke:
1. Adopt a zero-tolerance policy for smoking in your home and in your car.
2. Visit hotels, restaurants, etc. with a smokefree environment and avoid going to indoor locations where people are allowed to smoke.
3. Avoid buying or renting a home where smokers previously lived. If you absolutely love the home but a smoker once lived there, do a thorough clean-up of the space with detergent. Repainting the rooms, replacing the carpets, and cleaning up the ventilation system can also help reduce exposure to thirdhand smoke left behind.
4. If you live in an apartment that allows smoking in the building, ask your landlord to adopt a smokefree policy. Not only does it benefit the health of all tenants, it also makes financial sense too for owners. Click here for more information about the benefits of smokefree housing.
5. If you work in an office space that allows smoking on premises, try to get your HR department to make the building smokefree.
6. Should you find yourself around second and thirdhand smoke, wash your body and hair soon after to avoid exposing others to it.
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