The dangers of third-hand smoke

Researchers say kids are at risk when exposed to third-hand smoke

The dangers of third-hand smoke

Source: Best Health Magazine, March/April 2009

Health experts are warning of the dangers of third-hand smoke’the invisible toxic gases and particles that hang around on things like clothes and furniture long after a cigarette has been put out. Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, says kids ingest twice the amount of these air particles that adults do, even though they may be only a tenth of the size, giving them 20 times the dose. So have no pity on guests who want to light up­’send them outside. And don’t even think about allowing smoking in the car, even with a window open. ‘The smaller the space, the more intense the exposure to toxins,’ says Winickoff.

Reasons to butt out

Every puff raises your risk of:
‘ Lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer death for Canadian women;
‘ Other cancers, such as bladder, cervical, colon and rectal cancers (women who smoke are 95 percent more likely than non-smokers to develop the latter, said a recent U.S. study); and
‘ Heart attacks, stroke and respiratory ailments such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (female smokers are 20 percent more likely to develop COPD than male smokers, according to a recent study from Nanjing Medical University in China).

Quitting smoking reduces your carbon monoxide levels within hours and slashes your smoking-related heart attack risk in half within one year, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Download helpful quitting tools at and

Thinking about quitting? Get inspired by these success stories:

"I quit smoking and dropped 35 pounds!"
‘ "How I quit smoking."

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