Thursday, March 5, 2009

Third-hand Smoke

Have you heard of third-hand smoke? Third-hand smoke is another reason why you need to quit. Some of you may not know but third-hand smoke is as harmful as second-hand smoke to children. Some parents may not aware of what it can cause to there kids or babies. Even if they choose to smoke outside their home or only smoke when their children are not there, they are still exposing them to toxins. Researchers at Mass General Hospital for Children (MGHFC) describe how tobacco smoke contamination lingers even after a cigarette is extinguished, they define it as "third-hand" smoke.

"When you smoke – anyplace – toxic particulate matter from tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothing," says lead study author, Jonathan Winickoff, MD, MPH, assistant director of the MGHfC Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy. "When you come into contact with your baby, even if you're not smoking at the time, she comes in contact with those toxins. And if you breastfeed, the toxins will transfer to your baby in your breastmilk." Winickoff notes that nursing a baby if you're a smoker is still preferable to bottle-feeding, however.

Small children are especially susceptible to third-hand smoke exposure because they can inhale near, crawl and play on, or touch and mouth contaminated surfaces. Third-hand smoke can remain indoors even long after the smoking has stopped. Similar to low-level lead exposure, low levels of tobacco particulates have been associated with cognitive deficits among children, and the higher the exposure level, the lower the reading score. These findings underscore the possibility that even extremely low levels of these compounds may be neurotoxic and, according to the researchers, justify restricting all smoking in indoor areas inhabited by children.

Want to know more about third-hand smoke read here.


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