New fears over third-hand smoke

Experts warn that third-hand smoke found in hair and on clothes can be just as dangerous as cigarette fumes

Just because you’re a non-smoker and avoid cigarette fumes doesn’t mean you are not at risk, according to the latest US research.

We all know that smoke breathed in when you are in the same room as someone smoking is bad for your health, but it has now been revealed that third-hand fumes can be just as dangerous.

Experts have discovered that poisons in cigarette smoke can linger on clothes, hair, and cars, even after the fumes have dispersed from a room. The residues can be particularly harmful to children who may lick or suck these surfaces.

The researchers at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory in California studied nicotine absorbed on indoor material, and the interior of a smoker’s car.

Their results proved that avoiding being in the same room as someone while they are smoking is not enough to fully protect your health.

Dr Hugo Destaillats, and environmental chemist who worked on the study, said: ‘Because of their frequent contact with surfaces – such as clothes, skin, furniture – and dust, infants and children are particularly at risk.’

The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists, recommends people get rid of old carpets, chairs, curtains and other objects that may have been exposed to tobacco if they are worried.

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