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Third-Hand Smoke Causes Serious Health Problems

Update Date: Feb 01, 2014 02:42 PM EST

Third-hand smoke can lead to hyperactivity and significant damage in liver, according to a new study. The effect can also delay the healing of wounds. 

First-hand smoke refers to the smoke inhaled by a smoker. The second-hand smoke is the exhaled smoke and other substances emanating from the burning cigarette that can get inhaled by others. The third-hand is the second-hand smoke that gets left on the surfaces of objects turning more toxic. 

"We studied, on mice, the effects of third-hand smoke on several organ systems under conditions that simulated third-hand smoke exposure of humans," said Manuela Martins-Green, a professor of cell biology who led the study in the press release. "We found significant damage occurs in the liver and lung. Wounds in these mice took longer to heal. Further, these mice displayed hyperactivity."

Researchers found that when mice was exposed to third-hand smoke, it showed alteration in multiple organ systems. It also excreted levels of a tobacco-specific carcinogen that were identical to those found in children exposed to second-hand smoke.

"The latter data, combined with emerging associated behavioral problems in children exposed to second- and third-hand smoke suggests that with prolonged exposure, they may be at significant risk for developing more severe neurological disorders," Martins-Green added in the press release.

"There is a critical need for animal experiments to evaluate biological effects of exposure to third-hand smoke that will inform subsequent human epidemiological and clinical trials. Such studies can determine potential human health risks, design of clinical trials and potentially can contribute to policies that lead to reduction in both exposure and disease."

The findings of the study is published in the PLOS ONE

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