Toxins From Tobacco Smoke Stay In Smokers' Homes Long After Quitting

First Posted: Oct 06, 2016 04:12 AM EDT

A recent study has revealed that even when you quit smoking, cigarette residue can cling on to surfaces, and gets trap deep into the materials that can be found in your home and settle in for at least six months which can continue to pose a threat to those people living in the house who doesn't smoke.

San Diego State University created a team of tobacco researchers, chemists, and environmental scientists which were known as leaders in the field that explored the properties and dangers of third-hand smoking. These researchers have already known for a while that this leftover residue, known as third-hand smoke, stays in the environment even after the smoke has already cleared out. 

"It's important to know how long third-hand smoke lingers in a home environment and if the former smoker and other residents are exposed to its toxic compounds," said Georg Matt, the study's lead author and a psychology professor at SDSU.

Previously published studies have shown that innocent nonsmokers are at risk of being exposed to third-hand smoke when they move into a new house, stay at a hotel, visit a casino and rent a car. However, there isn't a lot of information that shows what happens to the third-hand smoke that has accumulated in the homes of smokers after they quit, Medical Xpress reported.

According to a report published in Tobacco Control, researchers found that small particles from the burning tobacco can sift through multiple surfaces like carpets, upholstery, pillows, blankets, clothes, even wallpaper and ceiling tiles and linger long after an individual has already stopped smoking.  

The New York Times reported that the researchers studied 65 smokers who were already decided to quit the habit. Over the course of six months, researchers measured the levels of nicotine and other tobacco-specific compounds on household surfaces and in dust. Urine samples were also analyzed for those nonsmokers living in the same household.

Findings showed that there was a large immediate reduction in the levels of nicotine on surfaces and dust, which then stopped at a particular level and remained the same. However, experts still said that it was detectable by the end of the study, Web MD reported.

Meanwhile, researchers said that even after six months, urinary cotinine levels, a measure of exposure to tobacco, were still detectable in the nonsmokers.

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