"Nicotine in third-hand smoke, the residue from tobacco smoke that clings to virtually all surfaces long after a cigarette has been extinguished, reacts with the common indoor air pollutant nitrous acid to produce dangerous carcinogens" says a new study.
The BBC is reporting that researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a US Department of Energy laboratory in Berkeley, California, ran lab tests (my emphasis) and found "substantial levels" of toxins on smoke-exposed material.
Even though the threat, if any, to non-smokers including children is unclear (ie minimal), opponents of smoking have been predictably quick to call for the need to "protect children" and make "homes and cars smokefree".
Amanda Sandford of Action on Smoking and Health said: "The harmful effects of second-hand smoke are already well-established but this study adds a new dimension to the dangers associated with smoking and provides further evidence of the need to protect children, in particular, from exposure to tobacco smoke.
Ed Young of Cancer Research UK said: "This is an interesting piece of research that adds the possibility of an extra level of harm from tobacco smoke ... The most important step parents can take to protect their families from the dangers of cigarette smoke is to make their homes and cars smokefree."
To be fair, the BBC adds that:
Simon Clark, director of the smokers' lobby group Forest, remained sceptical. He said: "The dose makes the poison and there is no evidence that exposure to such minute levels is harmful. That doesn't seem to matter, though. The aim, it seems, is to generate alarm in the hope that people will be stopped from smoking or will give up.
"The real danger is not third-hand smoke but propaganda dressed up as science. Until the evidence of harm is irrefutable, scientists and campaigners should resist the urge to tell us how to live our lives."
Full story HERE.