Doctors warn against 'third-hand' smoke - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Doctors warn against 'third-hand' smoke

(WMC-TV) - Doctors and patients alike have known for decades the health concerns associated with cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke, but now there are warnings against third-hand smoke.

Turns out all the secondhand smoke left behind lingers even after the primary source for smoke is gone, according to doctors. It can stay on walls and furniture.

"You can actually see on the walls a material, a residue. You can see how over time the smoke, the components of it the nicotine and other things have attached to surfaces," said Dr Mark Castellaw with Baptist Medical Group.

The studies that have doctors warning patients are outlined in the blog of Dr. Rhonda Patrick, which Dr. Castellaw has read. He says all of this information is fairly new, but it is common sense.

"I'm sure you have experienced walking into a room where it reeks of cigarette smoke and no one has smoked in there in a month, but the odor is still there because these residues are still there," he said.

Getting rid of the residues will not be as simple as scrubbing down the walls.

"It takes a pretty heavy duty chemical industrial cleaning to rid the substances from the walls," said Castellaw.

The only way to prevent third-hand smoke is not allowing people to smoke in places where you spend time. If you frequent smoky spots, just know the threat for health problems is there even after the smoke has cleared.

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