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Thirdhand Smoke

What is thirdhand smoke?

Thirdhand smoke refers to the chemicals from cigarette smoke, even long after smoking has stopped, that cling to soft surfaces and can be found on things that you touch, such as carpets, clothing and toys.

Whether you are young or old, healthy or sick, thirdhand smoke is dangerous.

Thirdhand smoke contains poisons.

You are exposed to the same chemicals found in tobacco smoke that are known to cause cancer. These toxins build up on surfaces over time and resist normal cleaning. 

Babies are hurt by thirdhand smoke.

Babies are affected by the poisons in thirdhand smoke found on floors, clothing, hair, skin, baby blankets, furniture, toys and other surfaces. Your infant or toddler inhales, ingests or touches these chemicals and puts their hands and mouths on these surfaces. These tobacco toxins get into their bodies through developing lungs. The chemicals build up and can cause learning problems.

What can parents do?

Protect your children’s health.

  • Do not allow anyone to smoke near your child. Ask smokers to wash their hands and change into smoke-free clothing before holding your baby. 
  • Do not smoke or allow others to smoke in your home or car. 
  • Use a smoke-free daycare center and babysitters who are nonsmokers.   
  • Do not take your child to restaurants or other indoor public places that allow smoking.  
  • Try to keep your child out of homes of smokers.