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Third Hand Smoke versus Second Hand Smoke versus First Hand Smoke

Updated on December 21, 2015
Women who smoke increase their likelihood of delayed conception and even infertility - this is a fact from WHO
Women who smoke increase their likelihood of delayed conception and even infertility - this is a fact from WHO | Source

Everyone who smokes knows that cigarette is bad for them. There are several ways cigarette smoking can affect your body. Research has shown that cigarette smoking can hurt almost every part of your body, from staining your teeth to increasing your risk of cancer and heart diseases. In this hub we will concentration on the differences between first hand smoke, second hand smoke and third hand smoke and how to avoid them.

See what is in a cigarette

About 85% of the smoke from a cigarette forms second hand and third hand smoke
About 85% of the smoke from a cigarette forms second hand and third hand smoke | Source

What are the Differences?

First Hand Smoke is what the smoker inhales directly in to the lungs. Smokers inhale approximately 15% of the smoke from a cigarette (first hand smoke), 85% is released in to the environment as second hand and third hand smoke.

Second Hand Smoke is mainly involuntary smoking. It is the smoke that one takes in when next to someone smoking a cigarette. This is the smoke that comes out the burning end of a cigarette or the smoke exhaled by a smoker.

A person positioned very close to the burning end of a cigarette may be exposed to more toxic chemicals than the smoker himself. This is because there is less dilution of the smoke at this position. This means that second hand smoke can sometimes be more dangerous than first hand smoke.

Third Hand Smoke: Not long ago scientists have discovered third hand smoke also known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke. This is the blend of toxic chemicals that settles on a smoker’s clothing, furniture, floor or carpet and stays there long after smoking. Generally, where there is second hand smoke, there will be third hand smoke.

Third hand smoke contains the same toxic chemicals found in cigarette. These include Arsenic, Cadmium, carbon monoxide, lead, toluene, butane and hydrogen cyanide.

Your nose usually alerts (the smell of smoke) you when there is third hand smoke lingering around. For example, when a smoker steps in to your car, when you step in to a smoker’s car, when a smoker walks in, when you walk in to a smoker’s room or when you share an elevator with someone who has just had a cigarette.

Third hand smoke is not only what you have in your ashtray. It includes small particles that you can not see that settles on every surface.
Third hand smoke is not only what you have in your ashtray. It includes small particles that you can not see that settles on every surface. | Source
First Hand Smoke
Second Hand Smoke
Third Hand Smoke
Smoke inhaled by a smoker
Smoke inhaled by others close to a smoker
Toxic residue left behind after smoking
Summary of the differences between first hand, second hand and third hand smoke

How to Protect Yourself and Others

First Hand Smoke

First hand smoke is what the smoker sucks down in to the lungs. Hence, there is no way to minimize this type of exposure. Quitting is the right way to go to protect your health and the health of your family. Quitting will also protect everyone around your from your second hand and third hand smoke.

Second Hand Smoke

We all know all the nasty things cigarette smoke can do in our bodies. In order to protect yourself, avoid places where people smoke and negotiate smoke-free spaces at home and at work. If it is not possible to negotiate a smoke-free space then stay in another room away from the smoke.

Children with smoking parents have a high risk exposure to second hand smoke at home. Parent should take initiative and smoke outside in order not to expose their children to second hand smoke.

Third Hand Smoke

For the smokers: Smoking when nobody is around does not necessarily protect others from third hand smoke. The best way to prevent it is to understand the risk of third hand smoke and quit smoking.

The clothing of someone who just had a cigarette is packed with third hand smoke. If you are a parent who is not ready to quit smoking then you should at least smoke outside. Wear an old shirt and a hat which you leave outside and away from your children. This will reduce the amount of residue that you carry back inside your home. It is also important to keep your car smoke-free.

For the non-smokers: Choose smoke free facilities. For example, choose a child care provider with a no-smoking policy for your children.

Babies crawling on the floor have a high risk of exposure to third hand smoke. Scientists have reported that toxins present in second hand and third hand smoke can cause very severe health complications in babies including sudden infant death. Some individuals such as asthmatic patients are very sensitive to second hand and third hand smoke.

First Hand Smoke
Second Hand Smoke
Third Hand Smoke
Quit Smoking
Avoid places where people smoke
Choose smoke free facilities
 
Smokers should smoke outside
Smokers should smoke outside
 
 
Smokers should change clothing often
Summary of the ways to avoid third hand, second hand and first hand smoke

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    • anatomynotes profile image
      Author

      Edmund Custers 4 years ago

      BethanRose, I am glad you found this page interesting. Thanks for stopping by.

    • BethanRose profile image

      BethanRose 4 years ago from South Wales

      I have many friends who smoke, so this is very interesting and useful to know! Voted up and useful!