First-hand smoke exposure is the smoke inhaled by the actual smoker, and second-hand smoke exposure is when others inhale the exhaled smoke. But according to new research, third-hand smoke exposure could be just as dangerous as first- and second-hand smoke.
Third-hand smoke exposure is exposure to surfaces that have been contaminated with second-hand smoke. When a smoker moves out of a house, surfaces and dust can remain contaminated. As time goes on, nicotine is re-emitted from the contamination, and nicotine exposure can approach the levels of first-hand smoking.
Mice exposed to third-hand smoke were hyperactive, experienced significant lung and liver damage, and their wound healing abilities were reduced. In addition to these findings, it was found that third-hand smoke exposure can lead to type II diabetes!
What does this mean for you? Well, it might be more important than you think to choose a hotel that prohibits smoking and pay more attention to the smoking habits of previous owners of your new homes and automobiles. While a lingering odor of smoke might dissipate over time, the lasting effects may not. If you’re still smoking, here’s another great reason to consider the effects you may be having on your kids, your friends’ kids, and those who will be here long after you are.
New research in rats may really change your mind. There is plenty of evidence showing that exposure to nicotine while in utero can increase the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage, birth defects, and SIDS. But if that isn’t enough to make expectant moms put out those cigarettes, maybe a new study done at the Rockefeller University in New York will change their minds.
A study in pregnant rats showed that nicotine exposure caused their babies to have addictive personalities. What happens is simple- nicotine exposure while in the womb increases the production of certain brain neurons that are responsible for stimulating appetite as well as reward mechanisms in the brain that promote addiction. The rat pups self-administered more nicotine and ate more fatty foods as adolescents.
The scariest part? The dosages in these experiments were about the same as the nicotine from just one cigarette a day. Quitting smoking can be difficult for various reasons, but hopefully this study will give expectant moms more of a reason to quit. We all want healthy, happy babies- make sure that your decisions are in the best interest of their long-term health, as well.