Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fact Sheet About Third-Hand Smoke, Hookahs, & E Cigarettes

     We recently read a fact sheet on Third-Hand Smoke, Hookahs, and Electronic Cigarettes that will eventually be available on the website:  www.smokefreeapartments.org.
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     We found this fact sheet fascinating because this was the first we heard about "third-hand smoke."  We've previously heard about second-hand smoke (which is the smoke that comes off the end of the cigarette or cigar combined with the smoke exhaled by the person who is smoking) and the dangers.  According to the Surgeon General, there is no safe level of exposure for secondhand tobacco smoke.  Considering that tobacco smoke contains 7,000 chemicals and compounds, and more than 70 of them can cause cancer, it is not surprising.

     Which brings us back to the question what is third-hand smoke?  Third-hand smoke is that smell of smoke you get from places where individuals have smoked.  Third-hand smoke consists of the chemicals which remain in a room after the smoking has stopped.  Many of the chemicals in cigarette smoke can cling to walls, ceilings, & other surfaces or can absorb into carpets, drapes, & other fabrics.  A scientific study in 2002 showed that these chemicals can "offgas" back into the air & even re-combine to form harmful compounds that stay at high levels long after smoking has stopped. 
    The fact sheet is even more interesting when discussing Hookahs which has become because of the false notion that it is safer than smoking cigarettes.  Studies have shown that secondhand hookah smoke contains the same cancer-causing chemicals found in secondhad smoke from cigarettes & cigars, along with delivering three times more carbon monoxide, about the same amount of nicotine as cigarettes, and 40% more smoke by volume than cigarettes.
     While it seems their is not enough information available yet on e-cigarettes.  As a whole the fact sheet was very interesting and the website gives resources on banning smoking in apartments, which based on the fact sheet, we would highly recommend building owners develop procedures and rules on handling secondhand and now third-hand smoke.

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