Social. Political. Economic. Career| Seyed Ibrahim

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A New Cigarette Hazard: ‘Third-Hand Smoke’

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Parents who smoke often open a window or turn on a fan to clear the air for their children, but experts now have identified a related threat to children’s health that isn’t as easy to get rid of: third-hand smoke.

That’s the term being used to describe the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing, not to mention cushions and carpeting, that lingers long after smoke has cleared from a room. The residue includes heavy metals, carcinogens and even radioactive materials that young children can get on their hands and ingest, especially if they’re crawling or playing on the floor.

“When their kids are out of the house, they might smoke. Or they smoke in the car. Or they strap the kid in the car seat in the back and crack the window and smoke, and they think it’s okay because the second-hand smoke isn’t getting to their kids. We needed a term to describe these tobacco toxins that aren’t visible.” – Dr. Jonathan P. Winickoff, assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School

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Written by S Ibrahim

Jan 5, 2009 at 12:12 pm

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