The Dangers of Thirdhand Smoke

September 6th, 2018

You’ve heard of first and secondhand smoke, but did you know that thirdhand smoke is a serious harmful issue as well. Thirdhand smoke consists of the tobacco residue from cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products that is left behind after smoking and builds up on surfaces, and furnishings. Thirdhand smoke might seem like its just an offensive, musty odor; but in fact, it clearly indicates the lingering presence of harmful tobacco toxins. Experts say tobacco smoke is composed of over 5,000 different chemicals! Gross! A clear majority of them are known to be poisonous, toxic, and can damage our cells. Many of these chemicals are carcinogenic. Thirdhand smoke is found to have at least 250 chemicals. Carpets have an abundance of surface area, making them notorious stain and odor attractors.

Thirdhand smoke can contaminate:

  • Walls
  • Toys
  • Counters
  • Carpets
  • Couches
  • Air vents


The question truly is can you fully remove these toxins? Honestly, there’s still a lot of research being done on the harmful effects of thirdhand smoke. We don’t know the definitive answer to that.

What we do know is according to a 2010 study, “Thirdhand smoke remains after smokers move out of their home, even after being vacant for 2 months, and being prepared by new occupants (new carpeting and paint). Meanwhile, other lines of research have confirmed some smoke compounds absorb onto surfaces and then desorb back into the air over time, providing a source of tobacco toxicants that lingers long after people finish smoking.”

“As thirdhand smoke ages, it becomes more toxic. The aged particles then undergo a process called off-gassing, in which gas is continuously reemitted from these surfaces back into the air.”

“In 2013, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory were the first to demonstrate that thirdhand smoke causes significant genetic damage to human cells.” The Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory took newborn mice and placed them in cages with smoke-treated fabric for three weeks. The mice weighed significantly less than the control group. Also, both adult and newborn mice exposed to thirdhand smoke experienced changes in their blood cell counts, corresponding to their immune system, leading to allergic and inflammatory reactions.

It’s apparent, children and pets are directly affected by thirdhand smoke. There is no risk-free level of smoke exposure for children, cats, and dogs.

Affects Thirdhand smoke has on children:

  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Frequent Illnesses
  • Respiratory Tract Infections
  • Cellular damage

A baby crawling on the ground, or the family dog that is constantly walking, or lying on the carpet, are ten times more susceptible to the noxious residue.

Your best bet is to completely have the carpet and carpet padding ripped out and replaced. If replacing the carpets are not an option, the only thing you can do is call a professional carpet cleaner, specifically one that uses the hot-water extraction method. Your carpets need an extremely deep, thorough cleaning that’s only capable with high-powered equipment.

Break the cycle and just say no to cigarettes. There are no benefits whatsoever, and you’ll be doing an amazing thing for yourself, your family, and society.

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