Thirdhand smoke | Updated: 2022-04-01
What is thirdhand smoke?
Thirdhand smoke is the combination of nicotine and other chemicals from cigarettes left on surfaces (including clothes, walls, carpets, curtains, leathers, furniture and skin) after someone has smoked. The residual nicotine can react with nitrite in the air, producing strong carcinogens.
We can stay away when we see someone smoking, but we may well be unaware of the poisoning caused by thirdhand smoke. The residues from thirdhand smoke can be ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, which is easy to ignore.
The harm of thirdhand smoke is also long-term. Secondhand smoke can be removed through ventilation, while thirdhand smoke can stick onto the surfaces of objects for several days or even decades. Over time, if we want to thoroughly remove thirdhand smoke, we need to frequently clean the contaminated surfaces.
Concern for infants and young children
Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to thirdhand smoke due to their light body weight. Because they breathe more air than adults, they inhale more pollutants. Moreover, a child’s immune system is fragile. After inhaling these harmful matters, a child’s respiratory system, nervous system, circulatory system and urogenital system can be damaged.
For example, after you are exposed to smoke, the thirdhand smoke in the air will be absorbed into your clothes (especially cotton clothes). When you come home and pick up your children, the smell of thirdhand smoke on your clothes will be inhaled by them.
Babies are fond of crawling on the ground and may be hurt by thirdhand smoke due to hand-to-mouth behavior.
How to avoid thirdhand smoke?
Do not smoke indoors or at home, and do not smoke in public places or cars.
Maintain good ventilation and clean the furniture, clothes and carpets if someone smokes at home or in the car.
Keep smokers away from you, your children and pets.
If you want to be close to your children, wash your hands and face after smoking. You should also wash your hair, take a bath and change your clothes. 
Try to choose restaurants, training places or other indoor places with "no smoking" signs on the wall to reduce the exposure to thirdhand smoke.
Although there are ways to remove thirdhand smoke from home, the only sure way to protect yourself and your family is to ban smoking where you live, and, if you yourself are a smoker, to quit.