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Letter from the Director!

The Dangers of Second-hand and Third-hand Smoke

Generally, the smaller a mammal is, the faster the heart rate. Since children have a faster heart rate than adults, they also need to take more breaths per minute than adults. This means that children breathe in more second-hand smoke than adults would in the same exposure area. Children’s little lungs are still developing, so the damaging effects can also be greater as well.

The article, “Second-Hand Smoke: Effects on Children, Babies and Infants,” by reports that the estimated types of chemicals contained in secondhand smoke are approximately 7,000, with 250 types of them having been verified as toxic (at least 70 of them are carcinogens). A report entitled "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke" by the Surgeon General, has stated that "There are almost no safe levels when discussing exposure to secondhand smoke.”

Many adults are careful to smoke outdoors so that their children do not have to breathe in the harmful toxins, or at least they don’t smoke when there are children around. Unfortunately, smoking outside and away from children does not prevent all risks to their health. Even touching smoky clothing and objects causes kids to breathe in more smoke. Third-hand smoke is smoke that children breathe from exposure to clothing and other articles. As reported in the article, “What Is Third Hand Smoke, and Why Is It a Concern?” by, “Third-hand smoke clings to clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles, and other surfaces long after smoking has stopped. The residue from third-hand smoke builds up on surfaces over time. To remove the residue, hard surfaces, fabrics, and upholstery need to be regularly cleaned or laundered. Third-hand smoke can't be eliminated by airing out rooms, opening windows, using fans or air conditioners, or confining smoking to only certain areas of a home.”

Smoke stays in your clothes and on your skin. If you still choose to smoke, then be sure to change your clothes and wash your hands immediately following. If you have children in your household, it may be a worthy challenge to try to quit smoking because the residue remains on your face and hair as well. And children love to make contact with adults at face level.

Here is a link to a short video on second hand and third hand smoke that you can watch and share: CLICK HERE

The vape industry has promoted e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to smoking, but as the Mayo Clinic warns, that industry is largely unregulated and the date on the effects of e-cigarettes is not conclusive. If a parent is considering switching to e-cigarettes as a permanent habit, here is a good question to contemplate: “Is deliberately inhaling any kind of smoke good for my lungs?” Probably most people would agree that our lungs and bodies function better with fresh air. For more information on vaping from the Mayo Clinic, please CLICK HERE.

Many people would sincerely like to quit smoking but aren’t sure of the best method, or they have tried e-cigarettes and medications without success. According to Cancer Research UK, the best option to quit smoking is support combined with medication, which has over three times the success rate of trying to quit smoking using e-cigarettes alone. If you are seeking to end the habit, please consider accessing support from qualified professionals and agencies.

May your New Year be a healthy and happy one!

Tina McClintic

DCDC-Bartlesville Director

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