Wednesday, December 26, 2012

EDITORIAL: Fighting the Dangers of Third Hand Smoke

by Elaine Santos

In fighting the dangers of third hand smoke, we must first let residents know exactly what it is and why it’s so important for you, your family and even your pets to avoid it.

The fight begins with advocacy and education.

Usually we ask: When you walk into a room and smell lingering cigarette smoke, do you know what that’s called?

Being around a smoker on the street, outside of a building, or even in your family is at times unavoidable. The other day, our mailman came into the office reeking of smoke! It can’t be helped all of the time, but having the awareness of what can happen if you are around it enough is a start.

Third hand smoke gets on soft surfaces. This means it gets on your hair, skin, clothes and can remain there for months if unwashed. Babies spend time on the floors where smoke residue may have settled, pets may lick their fur and directly consume the toxins, and if enough of these toxins build up in the consumers it can cause dangerous levels of exposure in the body.

If you are a smoker, you should think about quitting. Never smoke in your home, your car, or near a school or office building. Always wash your hands and wash surfaces.  If you are not a smoker, don’t be afraid to tell someone to not smoke in your house or car. It can be uncomfortable or hard to do with friends and family, but be strict about protecting yourself.

Tell your child care providers and/or babysitters that smoking around your child is simply not an option and can result in the termination of their services.

View a Webinar on Third-hand Smoke: Clinical and Policy Implications (You must create a new account)

About the Contributing Blogger
Elaine Santos is the Coalition Coordinator of Putnam County Communities That Care Coalition. The mission of the Putnam County Communities That Care Coalition is to build a safe and healthy family-oriented community, which includes reducing the use of harmful substances by our adolescents. Our coalition includes individuals from all sectors of the community who work together to reduce risk factors and strengthen protective factors through education, enforcement and policy initiatives.

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