third-hand smoke love

third-hand smoke


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  • “Parents who smoke often open a window or turn on a fan to clear the air for their children, but experts now have identified a related threat to children’s health that isn’t as easy to get rid of: third-hand smoke.

    That’s the term being used to describe the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing, not to mention cushions and carpeting, that lingers long after second-hand smoke has cleared from a room. The residue includes heavy metals, carcinogens and even radioactive materials that young children can get on their hands and ingest, especially if they’re crawling or playing on the floor.�?

    The New York Times, A New Cigarette Hazard: ‘Third-Hand Smoke’, by Roni Caryn Rabin, January 2, 2009

    January 6, 2009

  • This coinage is as irritating (through its sloppy misappropriation of the term 'third-hand'; come to think of it, 'smoke' is inaccurate as well) as the phenomenon it purports to describe.

    We are displeased.


    January 6, 2009

  • It's true, this is still technically second-hand smoke, albeit the residue.

    I recently had to clean-up after someone who chain-smoked in their bedroom every night for well over a year. It was, needless to say, offensively pungent--the smell/residue was left on everything--the ceiling, the walls, the carpet, the windows. Even after a good carpet cleaner and wall-washing the smell is still present.

    January 6, 2009

  • *remembers that smell*

    *is so glad she quit years ago*

    I have books from my college days that still smell like my apartment. Yuck.

    January 6, 2009

  • Scary stuff, no matter the coined term.

    January 6, 2009

  • New? What's new about it, other than the stupid name? Smokers' homes have always been whiffy; I thought everyone knew this was because of residue from the smoke; since there are fewer smokers (in the West) now than ever, and the number is falling steadily, the study and article strike me as stoopid and teetering on the brink of irrelevance.

    January 7, 2009

  • Well, if they don't prove it with data, then it's just a supposition and can always be shot down by opponents, no matter how wrong common sense says they are. So yeah, someone has to study this "phenomenon" and figure out just what kind of toxic crap is in that residue.

    January 7, 2009

  • But it wasn't a medical study. They didn't address the question of whether cigarette-smoke residue is detrimental to health (and if so, how detrimental). All they did was survey people and find that more people thought smoke itself was bad for kids than thought the residue was. Then, to get their names in the paper for this extremely lightweight bit of research, they came up with, as sionnach says, a sloppy and irritating neologism.

    Of course, if it is "just a supposition" that this stuff is bad for you (I assume this has actually been proven) then what's needed is a serious long-term medical study, not a telephone poll.

    January 7, 2009

  • Okay. Guess I didn't read it carefully enough then.

    *goes to read the whole stupid thing*

    Well, I agree it's a stupid neologism because it isn't smoke at all and third-hand doesn't mean anything. I disagree that the research was fluff. The article focuses on the fact that a majority of Americans don't understand that the residue contains materials that continue to be harmful, that it isn't just the smoke that's harmful to non-smokers... blah blah... with the emphasis on "Americans don't understand" or don't know. And for that, what else are you gonna do besides a poll?

    It's no less scientific or valuable than the 47,300 other friggin' polls we were all subjected to before the election.

    My two measly cents anyhow.

    My previous comment was based on the part that stuck in my head after one very brief reading of John's comment (not the entire article). What I remembered was the list of toxic sludge that was found to be present in the residue, and extrapolated from that pathetic sliver of fake knowledge (and wrongly too, it turns out) that the study focused on finding out what toxic sludge was in the residue.

    And now that my head hurts, I'm leaving.

    January 7, 2009