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The Risk of the third-hand smoking


Photo source: Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters

Tobacco toxins linger in the environment long after a cigarette is extinguished. Ever take a whiff of a smoker's hair
and feel faint from the pungent scent of cigarette smoke? Perhaps you have stepped into an elevator and
wondered why it smells like someone has lit up when there is not a smoker in sight. Third-hand smoke is tobacco
smoke contamination that remains after the cigarette has been extinguished. According to the Jonathan Winickoff's
study at Harvard Cancer Center in Boston, a large number of people, particularly smokers, have no idea of that
the Third-hand smoke is the cocktail of toxins that linger in carpets, sofas, clothes and other materials hours or
even days after a cigarette is put out is a health hazard for infant, children and other people.

'Third-hand smoke' is a relatively new concept but one that have worried researchers and nonsmokers for several
years. The idea of third-hand smoke has been around for a long time. It's only recently been given a name and studied.
The level of toxicity in cigarette smoke is just as a trinomial when compared to other environmental toxins, such as
particles found in automobile exhaust. The following statement is a summary of Winickoff' explanations about that what
third-hand smoke is and why it poses a public health risk.

How exactly do you distinguish between second- and third- hand smoke? 

Third-hand smoke refers to the tobacco toxins that build up over time; one cigarette will coat the surface of a certain
room. It is the stuff that remains, after visible or the second-hand smoke has dissipated from the air. You can't quantify
it, because it depends on the space. In a tiny space like a car, the deposition is really heavy. Smokers don't see
the smoke going into a person' nose; they think that if they cannot see it, it's not affecting other people. Smokers
themselves are also contaminated. Smokers actually emit toxins from clothing and hair.

Why is third-hand smoke dangerous?

The 2006 surgeon general's report says there is no risk-free level of tobacco exposure. There are 250 poisonous toxins
found in cigarette smoke. Good studies show that tiny levels of exposure are associated with diminished IQ.

What do you consider the most dangerous compound in cigarette smoke?

I would say cyanide, which is used in chemical weapons. It actually interferes with the release of oxygen to tissues.
It competitively binds to hemoglobin[ meaning it competes with oxygen for binding sites on the blood's oxygen-carrying
molecule, hemoglobin]. Basically, people with cyanide poison turn-blue, that is a poison used to kill mammals. We used
to kill rats. And there it is in cigarette smoke.

Why are the risks associated with exposure to third-hand smoke different for children and adults?

The developing brain is uniquely susceptible to extremely low levels of toxins. Remember how we talked about the layers
of toxin deposits on surfaces? Who gets exposure to those surfaces? Babies and children are closer to [surfaces such
as floors]. They tend to touch or even mouth [put their mouths to] the contaminated surfaces. Imagine a teething infant.
Children ingest twice the amount of dust that grown-ups do. Let's say a grown-up weighs 68 kilograms. Let's say a baby
weighs seven kilograms. The infant ingests twice the dust [due to faster respiration and proximity to dusty surfaces].
Effectively, they'll get 20 times the exposure.

Source: PEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 1 January 2009

Third-hand smoke' could damage health.

The scientists say residue on clothing, furniture and wallpaper can react with a common indoor pollutant to generate
dangerous chemicals called tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA).

In the tests, contaminated surface exposed to "high but reasonable" amounts of the pollutant nitrous acid - emitted
by un-vented gas appliances and in-car exhaust - boosted levels of newly formed TSNA 10-fold. Substantial traces of
TSNA was also found on the inside surfaces of a truck belonging to a heavy smoker. The researchers say the third-hand
smoke is an unappreciated health hazard, and suggest a complete ban on smoking in homes and in vehicles to eliminate
any risk. Nicotine residues from tobacco smoke hang around for weeks or months.

Source: BBC News 9 February 2010

Smoking Restriction at Hotels in the World: Actual Survey
The ratio of a smoking guest room to the total hotel rooms was calculated,
based on-the-spot investigation.

Smoke-free Women's condominium in Shinjuku, Tokyo (PR)
Smoke-free Hotels in Japan
Smoking ban in a rent-a-car

english index tobacco control 日本語

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The article was written in March 2010, and last revised in April 2014, by Junhaku Miyamoto, M.D.,PhD.

Sheraton and Marriott Hotel Chains ban smoking.

Special Note:
 Two South Kuril and two islands off Hokkaido are the own land of Japan.
 Smoke-free hotels in Japan
 Domestic travel in Japan
 Smoke-free should be the minimum standard for the host city in the Olympic.
 WHO: Smoking should be banned in all public spaces.
 World population: seven billion v.s. Declining birth rate in Japan
 Nobody in the earth can destroy the natural beauty of the land.
 Tax saving's rental housing is mushrooming.

www. smokefree.jpn.com
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