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Study: 'Thirdhand smoke' poses danger to young children, pregnant women 

Jump to full article: Torrance (CA) Daily Breeze, 2011-04-20
Author: Melissa Evans Staff Writer


An often odorless residue left behind long after smokers extinguish their cigarette is perhaps more harmful to young children and pregnant women than even secondhand smoke, local researchers say.

A study to be published this month in the American Journal of Physiology found that the heavier molecules of "thirdhand smoke," a term coined in the last two years or so, pose a serious threat to fragile developing lungs.

Thirdhand smoke is a "stealth toxin" that lingers on all kinds of surfaces in cars, hotels, homes, casinos and other places where children and others may be exposed to these toxins, said Dr. Virender Rehan, a researcher at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute near Torrance who conducted the study.

"It essentially means that even when you are not directly facing the smoke, there is still a risk," he said. . . .

The researchers found prenatal exposure to these components plays a much greater role in altered lung function than childhood exposures.

That means pregnant women should be especially cautious when visiting the home of a smoker, or riding in a car with a smoker - even if the smoker does not light up in the women's presence, Rehan said.

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