Study: Smoking in your home is more dangerous than you think

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COLUMBIA – A new study, by the Department of Psychology at San Diego State University, found homes of smokers can remain polluted up to six months after smoking a cigarette.

The study examined the idea of tobacco smoke pollutants and how long exposure to the pollutants occurs after smoking in one’s home. The results found the most significant pollutant to be third hand smoke. 

“We all kind of know what second hand smoke is. That’s the smoke that cigarette smokers blow out of their mouth after inhaling or that they have the side stream smoke from the cigarette. Well, third hand smoke is left in the air that then moves to the wall, the carpet or furniture or even clothing,” said Dr. Kevin Everett, Associate Professor in community and family medicine at the University of Missouri.

Everett said children are the most susceptible to breathing in third hand smoke.

“They are on the floor and on carpets, they are on furniture much more than adults. It has been shown that children are at risk to ingest or have on their body dust more than 100 times more than adults,” he said.

Ashley and Jordan Gear are both smokers but say they are against smoking in the house.

“My step-dad just got off an oxygen tank so we smoke outside, plus we got kids in the house,” Jordan Gear said. “Yeah, we don’t want to smoke in front of the kids, especially because they say second hand smoke can be worse for you,” Ashley added.

But, the Gears said this is also learned from experience.

“We have smoked in the house before, and it does change things. If you have white walls, it turns them yellow,” Jordan Gear said. 

Smoking in closed spaces is against the doctor's orders. 

“Certainly, if you have young children or people with respiratory problems who are going to be at risk for ingestion problems related to third hand smoke, don’t smoke in your home, don't smoke in your car,” Everett said.