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Collaborative Consortium on Thirdhand Smoke

Thirdhand Smoke Exposure and Human Health Effects

Thirdhand smoke is the tobacco pollution that persists in the air and on surfaces after smoking has stopped. Smoking a cigarette generates two kinds of tobacco smoke: mainstream smoke that is inhaled by the smoker and sidestream smoke from the smoldering cigarette. Secondhand smoke is a combination of the sidestream smoke and the mainstream smoke exhaled by smokers.

Thirdhand smoke refers to the secondhand smoke gases and particles that stick to and become embedded in materials and objects, like carpet, walls, furniture, blankets, and toys. Thirdhand smoke is not strictly smoke, but chemicals that adhere to objects from which they can release back into the air or accumulate in house dust.

Some chemicals in thirdhand smoke are not released by the cigarette, but result from chemical transformation of tobacco smoke components that happen in the environment. Thirdhand smoke can linger indoors for a long time – months to years. People can be exposed to thirdhand smoke by touching contaminated surfaces (absorption through the skin), by eating contaminated objects or dust, and by breathing in air and re-suspended thirdhand smoke components.

-from the Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center


Since 2011, TRDRP has supported the Thirdhand Smoke Research Consortium.  The consortium's groundbreaking research into the human health consequences of residual smoke particles has influenced policy at both the federal and state level.

Visit the Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center about Collaborative Consortium on Thirdhand Smoke
hookah, pipes and cigars sitting on a grungy table