RESEARCH led by the University of York has highlighted the potential cancer risk in non-smokers — particularly young children — of tobacco smoke gases and particles deposited to surfaces and dust in the home, known as ‘third-hand tobacco smoke’.
Until now, the risks of this exposure have been highly uncertain and not considered in public policy.
However, a new study published in the journal Environment International, has estimated for the first time the potential cancer risk by age group through non-dietary ingestion and dermal exposure to third-hand smoke. The results indicate potentially severe long-term consequences, particularly to children.
Professor Alastair Lewis, from York’s Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, said: “Over 40 per cent of children have at least one smoking parent and whereas there is a general public awareness about the harms of second-hand smoke, there is little knowledge about the dangers of third-hand smoke.
"Carcinogenic materials can be passed from smokers to non-smokers during shared contact, for example between clothes and surfaces, and also enter homes via airborne transport of cigarette smoke.”