Written by Nurul Nabilah Binti Ahmad Shukri
Smoking not only harms the direct or active users but also those around him or her known as the passive smoker. Not only that, people who are not surrounded by people who smoke also can still be affected by harmful substances contained in the cigarette which is called third-hand smoke.
What is third-hand smoke? It is a remaining tobacco smoke or nicotine or other chemicals pollution that accumulate in indoor living spaces. Nicotine is a particle that is flexible and easily attached to shades, sofas, carpets, walls and cylinders. If these materials act back with the air or other chemicals contained in the room, it may be re-released into the environment and then stimulated by the individual inside the room. The ‘third smoke’ can also be spread and cling to a person’s hair, clothes and skin. It does not only cause the smell of smoke on our clothes, but it is a silent hazardous substance which brings toxicity to our body as well as people around the active smoker. Moreover, the ‘third smoke’ can stick for days on the surface of the objects, even though space has been cleaned or aerated by opening the fan or window.
It can create a toxic mix that can cause a health hazard to non-smokers and it also contains cancer-causing elements. Passive smokers and third-hand smokers bear a greater danger than active smokers because they inhale more toxins in smoke liberated than cigarette burning. In most cigarettes, there is a filter that prevents active smokers from stimulating certain toxins. On the other hand, the puff from the active smokers exposed others especially children to the danger of it.
Among the issues of third-hand smokers among children are lung disease, ear infections, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), learning problems, errors and cancer (leukaemia, gland cancer, lung cancer).