WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 08, 2012, 06:42 PM

Health officials weary of third hand smoke

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) - Most of us are familiar of the effects of second hand smoke. But what about third hand smoke?

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) - Most of us are familiar of the effects of second hand smoke. But what about third hand smoke?

The new term is raising concerns among health officials and the dangers of the third hand smoke are becoming more apparent.

Sanford Tobacco Education specialist Jay Taylor says third hand smoke may seem like a new term but the effects of it are clear.

Jay Taylor, Sanford Tobacco Education Coordinator: “Any exposure to tobacco smoke in any form is bad, the third hand is a little slower to react.”

Third hand smoke is the tobacco residue from cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products that is left behind after smoking. This residue mixes with the Nitrous Acid in the atmosphere, and turns it into a toxin.

Taylor: “Nitrosamines are the most potent cancer causing chemicals in the world they are number one.”

Taylor recommends putting on a coat or a smoking jacket when you come outside to smoke and taking it off and leaving it outside once you're done.

Taylor: “If mom or dad goes outside to smoke, and going outside to smoke is no guarantee it's safe, those chemicals then adhere to their clothing, if they come back in the house, and pick up baby, baby get a dose.”

Fargo Cass Public Health Community Health Educator Holly Scott says tobacco residue builds up on surfaces and furnishings like car upholstery, your hair, your clothes, basically everything.

Holly Scott, Fargo Cass Public Health Community Educator: “Curtains, upholstery on furniture, carpeting. You know even children’s toys, like a plastic ball, a teddy bear, a blanket.”

Scott says the best way to avoid any dangers of smoke is to quit, but if not you should try smoking outdoors because the air is less concentrated.

Scott: “You're still going to have that residual, some of those residual toxins that just get stuck there. They actually become sticky and they get imbedded or they cling to clothing, hair, even skin.”

Although the effects of third hand smoke right away, both Taylor and Scott say if you can smell it, you're being exposed to third hand smoke.

Third hand smoke has been shown to cause problems with asthma and ear infections in children.