You can inhale harmful chemicals from tobacco consumption even in non-smoking places, as these are worn on the bodies and clothing of smokers.
Third-hand smoke – the residue of cigarette fumes that clings to surfaces and then blows back into the air – was previously found indoors in places where smoking is allowed.
To find out whether third-party smoke also pollutes non-smoking rooms, Drew Gentner from Yale University and his colleagues monitored the air quality in a non-smoking cinema in Germany for four days after they had first flushed it with clean air. Smoking is prohibited in cinemas and other public places in Germany.
Read more: Third-hand smoke in furniture and clothing damages mouse organs
They observed spikes of tobacco chemicals in the air shortly after the audience arrived, which decreased over time but did not completely go away. The pollutants were likely introduced into the bodies and clothing of people who had recently smoked cigarettes or been around smokers, Gentner says.
They observed larger peaks in films rated for people age 16 and older, most likely because the audience was older and had higher tobacco exposure than those who attended films that were suitable for younger people, Gentner says.
The amount of tobacco chemicals that viewers of the older teen and adult films were exposed to per hour was equivalent to the amount they inhaled while sitting next to someone smoking up to 10 cigarettes.
The researchers discovered a total of 35 tobacco chemicals in the cinema, including known hazards such as benzene, formaldehyde and acrolein. We don’t yet know the long-term health effects of third-hand smoke inhalation, but most public health experts agree that there is no safe exposure to tobacco smoke, says Gentner.
The results suggest that guidelines to protect nonsmokers from second-hand smoke, such as banning people from smoking within set distances from buildings, may need to be expanded to protect people from third-hand smoke as well, Gentner says.
In addition, parents who smoke outside of their homes to avoid exposing their children to harmful tobacco chemicals should be aware that “the chemicals in their cigarettes are not completely out,” says Gentner, and parents “will stay Source These Chemicals When They Return Within “.
Read more: Every 50 cigarettes smoked cause one DNA mutation per lung cell
He and his colleagues hope to measure levels of third-party smoke pollution in other indoor spaces and the vapor from third-party e-cigarettes.
Journal reference: Advances in science, DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.aay4109
Sign up for our free Health Check newsletter for a weekly roundup of all the health and fitness news you need to know
More on these topics: