Third-Hand Smoke Harming Kids

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies

Smokers-and your children--beware. Even though you may smoke outside, or roll down the window to let in fresh air when you're smoking in the car, toxins remain in your hair and on your clothes that can ultimately poison your kids. Sound scary? well, it is, but turns out it's also true. Third-Hand Smoke, as it's being called, is so new a phrase that most people haven't heard of it and don't know what it means. In a recent study published in the January edition of the journal Pediatrics, it was determined that while most people are aware of the dangers of second-hand smoke, they are unaware that the residue left over from smoking on their clothes, furniture, carpets--OK, everywhere--is toxic and can linger long after they put out that cigarette. Only 65% of non-smokers polled for the study agreed with a statement that breathing air in the same room someone smoked in the day before was harmful to the health of infants and children. That rate was a mere 43% for smokers.

Dr. Philip Landrigan of Mount Sinai in New York agrees strongly with the findings and the hazards of third-hand smoke. Says Landrigan, "There are carcinogens in this third-hand smoke, and they are a cancer risk for anybody of any age who comes into contact with them." In fact, eleven of the compounds found in third-hand smoke are highly carcinogenic, some of which are radioactive. Yes, you read that correctly, RADIOACTIVE.

So, it's not enough to turn on the fan or use one of those little smokeless ashtray thingees. The smoke, and the toxins, are still there. To protect your kids you'll have to shower and wash your hair every time you have a cigarette, as well as clean the entire room and all its contents. Might just be easier to stop smoking!!! And, hey, look--I KNOW it's hard to stop smoking, trust me. But when things like this keep coming out, now more than ever, maybe it's time to go cold turkey. After all, it is New Year's!

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.