In the past 10 years, research into the impacts of thirdhand smoke has become increasingly popular. Thirdhand smoke is the nicotine and chemical residue on hands, hair, clothing as a result of smoking tobacco products.
A recent study in the journal Tobacco Control found high levels of nicotine and chemical residue on the hands of children of smokers. These children were taken to the emergency room for breathing problems, and researchers found the average nicotine content found on their hands was 3 times more than the hands of non-smoking adults. Thirdhand smoke can stay on surfaces for up to 5 years, and it is challenging to clean because the different chemicals react differently to cleaning supplies.
Children are more likely than adults to develop health problems due to thirdhand smoke. The risk is especially high among infants and young children who are more likely to spend time indoors surrounded by contaminated objects like furniture, carpeting and bedding. Infants are also more likely to put their hands in their mouths, potentially ingesting these harmful chemicals. Researchers are working to isolate the impact of thirdhand smoke from other environmental better understand the risk of thirdhand smoke.