Smoke Free is Catching Fire
Every day, more public spaces become off limits to smokers. Some smokers-if they’re lucky-can find designated outdoor smoking areas. So we’ve nearly eliminated the problem of secondhand smoke. Great. Except now we have to contend with third hand smoke. What?
WHAT IS THIRD HAND SMOKE?
The odor of a smoker’s most recent cigarette can remain for a few minutes or much longer. It lingers because chemicals emitted in the smoke have settled on the person’s clothes and hair. Those chemicals transfer from the smoker to upholstery, draperies, carpeting and rugs, wallpaper, lampshades, wood cabinetry and other furnishings. In any room or vehicle, or even elevators and stairwells, where smokers enter, reside, move about or sit regularly, the amount of chemical residue from their just-smoked cigarettes or other nicotine products accumulates. This residue, which can adhere for months to almost every surface, is what scientists call third-hand smoke. Managers of communities that have party rooms, lobbies and other enclosed spaces with designated-or even formerly designated-smoking areas should be aware that third-hand smoke can be lethal.