Thirdhand Smoke: Is danger lurking in your home?

Many people are aware of the risks caused by firsthand and secondhand inhalation of nicotine and other toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke. Yet the general population may be unaware of another potentially cancer-causing exposure known as “thirdhand smoke.”

Thirdhand smoke describes compounds that form when particles from a cigarette or other tobacco-burning device mix with gases in the air, absorbing into nearby surfaces, like hair, carpets, curtains, clothes, bedsheets, and wall paint. As the chemicals age, their structure changes, leaving behind a residue that emits toxic gasses continually for decades.

Thirdhand smoke accumulates over time with each exposure. Thirdhand smoke cannot be cleaned or prevented using conventional methods and many times can only be physically removed by replacing carpeting and drywall.

Children are especially vulnerable to the dangers of thirdhand smoke as they are closer to contaminated surfaces and interact more with the substances through play or unintentional ingestion.

Quitting the use of tobacco products can limit the exposure to thirdhand smoke and create healthier living environments for children and adults alike.

Find out more, and get resources on what you can do to protect yourself and your family at