Smokers have a very high risk of developing lung cancer, and those who inhale second-hand smoke are equally at risk. However, even if you are not a smoker and are not exactly exposed to second-hand smoke, it is said that exposure to third-hand smoke puts us at risk of developing lung cancer as well.
But what is third-hand smoke?
Respiratory physician, Dr Hilmi Lockman from Prince Court Medical Centre, said that chemicals that remain in clothing, curtains, sofas, bedding and vehicle interiors are considered to be third-hand smoke. In other words, the very strong smoke odour you can smell on a person after they’ve gone for a puff.
“The smoke inhaled by smokers goes through a filter, while the second-hand smoke inhaled by others is not only smoke from cigarettes, but also unfiltered tobacco. This will increase the risk of lung cancer,” he said.
“Some patients have no family history, no smoking or other bad habits, but they have lung cancer. In fact, both second-hand smokers, or passive smokers, and third-hand smokers are at risk.”
As reported on Oriental Daily, the toxic components found in third-hand smoke include more than 10 highly carcinogenic compounds (substances that promote the formation of cancer) such as toluene, lead, carbon monoxide and butane. Depending on the level of ventilation and pollution, these substances may be retained for hours, days or even months.
Children’s immune systems are very fragile, therefore, they are the most vulnerable to third-hand smoke.
Dr Hilmi Lockman also pointed out that not only does smoking cause lung damage and increase the risk of lung cancer, it also increases the risk of other kinds of lung diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary fibrosis.
“Although some lung diseases cannot be reversed, stopping smoking at any stage can bring about improvement, preventing the disease from worsening, and strengthening lung function,” he said.
Hmm, what do you guys think about this? Do you think third-hand smoke is really that bad? Let us know in the comments below!
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