Unfair Jeopardy of Third and Fourth Hand Smoking
Smoking-related illnesses and fatalities continue to be a significant public health issue because it is still the world’s biggest cause. The harmful effects of active smoking and second hand smoke on health are now well documented. Third-hand smoke (THS) and fourth-hand smoke exposure, on the other hand, are relatively new terms that have only recently been defined in the context of environmental and public health. Third-hand smoke is composed of pollutants that accumulate indoors when tobacco is smoked. Third-hand smoke is constituted of chemicals that adhere to surfaces. THS contains tobacco smoke components that can linger on interior surfaces and in dust for months before being gaseously released back into the atmosphere. Humans who have been exposed to third parties are more likely to develop cancer, have DNA damage, and heal wounds more slowly. Pregnant women are at an increased risk of stillbirth, premature birth, and sudden infant death syndrome (crib death). Smoking is a learned behaviour. Like third hand smoke fourth hand smoke also pose a potential health threat to children and young adults. When people see their role models, on-screen celebrities, friends, and co-workers smoking, the behaviour becomes normalised and acceptable. It is too early to predict the combined health effects of third and fourth hand smoke. Probably the most important intervention would be to raise public awareness of the problem, which adds yet another reason to remain active in the anti-smoking campaign.
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