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Study shows non-smokers can absorb nicotine levels in a home that a smoker used to live in

San Diego State University researchers have found that pollutants released from cigarette smoke may linger longer within a home than previously thought, holding a presence long after the smoker has moved out. 

Georg E. Matt, study leader and a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, along with a team of researchers, has discovered that cigarette smoke pollutants can attach to home surfaces and slip into crevices for long periods of time after the smoker has already moved out. Then, when non-smokers move in, they could potentially absorb these toxic chemicals

"These oily, sticky droplets hang around for months after a smoker has left," said Matt. "While there was considerably less in homes once an active smoker moved out, there was still 10 to 20 percent of what was found while the smoker still lived there."

These pollutants have been dubbed "thirdhand smoke," and despite the fact that the home has been vacant for months and even cleaned after a smoker has left, the thirdhand smoke remains and can affect a new non-smoking occupant. 

Researchers came to this conclusion after studying the homes of 100 smokers and 50 non-smokers who were planning to move out. Nicotine levels were used as a "marker" for any other chemical residues that come from tobacco smoke. Chemicals on the walls, ceilings, floors and other surfaces were measured as well as the air. They even searched for nicotine on the residents' fingertips in all 150 homes as well as a nicotine breakdown product, cotinine, within urine samples of children.

Twenty-five non-smokers then moved into homes that were previously owned by smokers, and researchers again checked nicotine/chemical residues throughout the homes, on fingertips and in urine. After careful measurements, researchers concluded that nicotine levels in the air throughout the homes, which were vacant for two months after the smokers moved out, were 35 to 98 times as high "as they were in non-smoker homes." As far as surfaces go, nicotine levels were 30 to 150 times as high in the former smokers' homes compared to the homes of non-smokers. 

When testing for nicotine on fingertips, non-smokers who moved into the homes of smokers had nicotine levels seven to eight times higher than those who stayed in non-smoking homes. Children's urine contained nicotine levels three to five times higher than those in non-smoking homes.

"Above a certain threshold level, you can smell it," said Matt. "And if you can smell it, that means you're inhaling these compounds and they're going into your lungs. So smelling is a good indicator though it's not a super sensitive one."

Researchers advise those who live in a previous smokers' home to keep surfaces as clean as possible, and to keep children's hands clean. 

This study was published in the journal Tobacco Control.

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Smoking FTW?
By The Insolent One on 12/18/2010 5:24:32 PM , Rating: -1
So basically, if you smoke you'll ruin your lungs, teeth, sense of smell, sense of taste, your clothes and most likely give yourself cancer. In addition, if/when you smoke around anyone else (even a self professed "non-smoker"), you'll expose them to most of the same risks. Finally you will do harm to someone you never even met or had any direct contact with because of your smoking habit.

This sounds to me like modern day leprocy. The big difference of course is that lepers didn't go down to the liquor store to buy a box of leper sticks to infect themselves and others.

Please don't be a leper.

RE: Smoking FTW?
By mindless1 on 12/18/2010 7:57:05 PM , Rating: 1
By all means, don't smoke if you don't want to... but attributing all these other factors is very misleading, as if you are suggesting and singling out one set of problems trying to assume there are no other things that cause harm to your health or appearance.

The fact is, life causes death. Some try to live a long miserable life and others just grab life by the horns and ride it for all it's worth.

That's not a justification to smoke by any means, just one that it is in fact other factors we should focus on like increasing heart disease in NON-smokers... figure out the fix to that and everyone lives healthier... and yet we have mostly figured out that fix but the majority don't follow healthy living practices and that includes those of us spending idle time on the internet, watching TV, etc. instead of doing something more active (during that time in addition to other times you might).

In other words there are lots of ways we waste away an hour when we could've had more than double the experiences... which pretty much trumps a few years difference in lifespan.

RE: Smoking FTW?
By CptTripps on 12/20/2010 6:45:49 PM , Rating: 1
Since when are professed non-smokers required to stand beside a smoker while they smoke? Most smokers I know go outside and stand away from the doors out of respect for non-smokers.

And hahahahah at "you will do harm to someone you never even met or had any direct contact with because of your smoking habit". Please show me proof that "third hand smoke" is harming the strangers who moved into an old smokers apartment.

I would imagine indoor painting is more harmfull. Time for a ban on painters.

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