The Student Showcase highlights students involved in the Leadership Scholars program. This month the student showcase highlights Katie Clancy ’18. Katie ‘s presentation was titled “What is Thirdhand Smoke and What Can This New Discovery Do for Society?”
The objective of this project is to define “thirdhand smoke,” explain its effects and create a plan to prevent its occurrence in society. Her inspiration for this project was a family connection who suffers from asthma as a result of secondhand and thirdhand smoke.
Thirdhand smoke combines air pollutants such as ozone and nitrous acid that can form cancerous compounds with exhaled cigarette smoke (Thirdhand Smoke Is, 2014). It is also an accumulation of secondhand smoke on “environmental surfaces” (Bushak, 2016). This smoke combines nicotine and other chemical residues and clings to surfaces in toxic combinations (Angiwan, 2016). This smoke can settle in many household items, such as carpeting, toothbrushes, food, clothes, skin, blankets, etc. We don’t yet know how much pollution occurs as a result of second and thirdhand smoke.
The method by which thirdhand smoke attaches itself to items makes it especially dangerous for babies, and toddlers who crawl on blankets, carpets, put items in their mouths, etc. Others affected are those who move into homes that were previously owned by smokers, as the living spaces remain polluted for at least six months, possibly longer.
The best solution is to avoid thirdhand smoke as much as possible. It is as deadly as secondhand smoke. The best solution is to be aware of it and to encourage smokers to quit.