What You Need to Know About Third Hand Smoke

What is third hand smoke?

Third hand smoke is tobacco smoke residue that remains in indoor settings. It is the layers of nicotine and other chemicals from tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars or electronic cigarettes that stick to indoor surfaces such as walls, floors, and furniture that can build up over time and remain there for years. Cleaning, vacuuming or opening windows does not completely remove the deposits (CDPH).  

Who is at risk?

Third hand smoke can be very harmful to infants in homes where people smoke. Young children may also be at risk, because they can touch the surfaces of furniture and carpets or put toys in their mouth that have been covered by tobacco residue.

Third hand smoke can stick to skin, hair and clothes. Children and adults that do not smoke and come into close contact with smokers may be at risk of tobacco related health problems when they inhale. (CDPH).

Where is it found?

Here are places where residue from third hand smoke can be found:

  • Homes of smokers that have quit
  • Cars of smokers
  • Some used and rental cars
  • Hotels with limited smoking restrictions

How can you keep your family safe from third hand smoke?

Third hand smoke is fairly new and research is still being done to learn more about the possible health risks. Until more is known, the best way to help protect nonsmokers is to create a smoke free environment.

  • Insist that smokers go outside and do not smoke in homes or in cars.
  • Avoid any indoor setting that was used by long term smokers.
  • In homes that were in contact with long term smoke, consider changing carpets, ventilation systems, furniture, etc.

Visit the links below for resources to be smoke-free:






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