Third hand smoke and babies absorbing nicotine through skin .

Charlie - posted on 07/24/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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A hot debate on the welcome page on the effects of smoking while breastfeeding brought up an interesting topic of third hand smoke so i thought i would bring it over to the ladies of debating mums to share their view on what is safe , what is acceptable and whether it really is anyone else's buisness .

Here is an article on the topic discussing third hand smoke .

Babies may absorb smoke residue in home
By Liz Szabo, USA TODAY

As any parent knows, crawling babies explore the world by touching — and tasting — anything they can get their wet little hands on.

If their parents use tobacco, that curiosity may expose babies to what some doctors are calling "thirdhand" smoke — particles and gases given off by cigarettes that cling to walls, clothes and even hair and skin. Up to 90% of the nicotine in cigarette smoke sticks to nearby surfaces, says Georg Matt, a professor at San Diego State University.

Preliminary research by Matt and others suggests the same chemicals that leave a stale cigarette odor on clothes and upholstery also can be swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin of non-smokers. Smoke residue may linger for hours, days or months, depending on the ventilation and the level of contamination. In some cases, contaminants may need to be removed by rigorously cleaning or replacing wallpaper, rugs and drapes, Matt says.

Matt cautions that his research needs to be confirmed by other studies. But his work suggests that babies may take in nicotine and other chemicals just by hugging their mothers — even if their mothers never light up next to them.

About 43% of children ages 2 months to 11 years live with a smoker, according to research described in Matt's 2004 study in the journal Tobacco Control.

In his small study of 49 infants under 13 months old, Matt found nicotine in the air and dust throughout smokers' homes, even when parents smoked only outside. Tests also found a nicotine byproduct, cotinine, in babies' urine and inside shafts of their hair.

As expected, babies whose parents smoked around them had the highest cotinine levels — nearly 50 times higher than the babies of non-smokers, according to the study.

Smokers who tried to shield their infants had only partial success, Matt says. The babies of parents who smoked only outside had cotinine levels seven times higher than in the infants of non-smokers, the study showed.

Adults also may be exposed to significant smoke residue if they rent cars, hotel rooms or apartments that have soaked up years of smoke, Matt says. He worries more about youngsters, however, because they may be exposed day and night for years.

Children also may be at greater risk because they breathe faster than adults and inhale more chemicals, says Jonathan Winickoff, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Crawling babies may take in chemicals through their skin.

Though scientists have extensive evidence about the damage caused by secondhand smoke, they know relatively little about the potential risks of thirdhand exposure, says Brett Singer, a scientist at California's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. "The million-dollar question is: How dangerous is this?" Singer says. "We can't say for sure this is a health hazard."

Matt agrees that doctors should study children — ideally for 10 or 15 years or more — to see whether low levels of smoke residue worsen asthma or harm the development of a child's lungs.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Sara - posted on 07/25/2010

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"What about the factories pumping out x amount of chemicals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? We are not breathing pure oxygen anyway. If its such a big deal, they should be addressing the other issues as well."


We may not breathe pure oxygen, but this is something in your babies environment that you have DIRECT control over. Why would you chose not to expose your baby to these harmful chemicals?

Lyndsay - posted on 07/24/2010

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Honestly, I think they're going a little nuts with the anti-smoking thing. Yes, its bad for you. Yes, you should not smoke near your children. Blah blah blah, we get it.

What about the factories pumping out x amount of chemicals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? We are not breathing pure oxygen anyway. If its such a big deal, they should be addressing the other issues as well.

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Jenny - posted on 07/27/2010

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It is so sad to be around a little baby that stinks like cigarettes. I'm a reformed smoker too. I smoked for 10 years, quit for 1, tried again for a few years and am now almost 2 years without a drag. My kids have always been kept away from second hand smoke with an effort on thrird hand. I am more lenient outside but inside is zero tolerance. If someone is 6 ft. away from my 7 year old and downwind we're not going to be bothered by it.

Meghan - posted on 07/26/2010

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I know it is illegal to smoke with a child under the age of 16 in the car here Dana...and I was acutally going to say that i have seen a few times mom' s here post that they smoke with the windows down in their cars....

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OMG! I was driving today and it took EVERYTHING in me not to scream at the women next to me in traffic who turned into the back seat and yelled at her kids to "hurry up and roll down the window....I'm fuckin smoking!"......the kids must have been 5 & 8 would be my educated guess. The younger kid wasn't able to roll down the window so she started yelling at the older kid who eventually took off his seat belt, crawled across the back seat and rolled down the other window. HOW DISGUSTING! If I didn't have Roxanne with me I would have lost it! Those poor kids.....smoking, yelling....what a fuckin cowface douche canoe!

Charlie - posted on 07/26/2010

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Its illegal in Australia to smoke in the car with children thats one small step i suppose .

I didnt know about thrid hand smoke but have always felt uncomfortable about people who smell like stale smoke handling my baby now i know why , the thing is not all of my smoking friends smell like this only a handful .

[deleted account]

I can't believe people still do (smoke in their home with children present/living there). Is anyone here brave enough to admit they do? Does anyone know someone who actually smokes with their children in the home? I'm curious

ME - posted on 07/26/2010

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When I was pregnant with Miles our OBGYN and Pediatrician suggested that my HUSBAND quit smoking for these very reasons. They both claimed to have research to support this, but I don't remember if they gave it to me or not, nor do I remember what it was. I couldn't convince Travis to quit smoking, but he does wash his hands after smoking, and before touching the baby, and we don't allow smoking in our home, or take our children into homes where people smoke.

Jacquie - posted on 07/25/2010

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I smoked for 10 years before I got pregnant (I quit early in my pregnancy). I personally will not be allowing people to smoke around my son and will require they wash their hands and what not before touching him after they smoke. We don't mind people smoking but we will not be allowing it around our son.

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NOBODY smokes anywhere near my son - I do not allow it because I do not want him to be subjected to anything in which I can control and people smoking I can control, nobody smoked near me when I was pregnant either (my friends/ family and I moved away from strangers). As a none smoker nobody smokes in my home either on the very odd occasion I have a smoker round (only 1 of my friends and 2 relatives smoke) they smoke outside in the garden. I am actually disgusted when I see pregnant women and moms/ dads smoking around their children because it is incredibly selfish to subject your kids to the smoke.

Meghan - posted on 07/24/2010

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I honestly didn't even read the article. I am a smoker. I quit the day I found out I was pregant and didn't start again until J was 9 months old and I went through my seperation-an excuse yes I know. My son has never seen me smoke, never seen my buy a pack, I wear the same jacket outside no matter what the temperature is and leave it away from him afterwards,I wash my hands everytime....but I think I go overboard with it. I am fine with going overboard cause I don't want my son to be affected by my yucky habbit. Wrapping this up-there are WAY worse things I could be doing!

Sharon - posted on 07/24/2010

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We aren't smokers but I can vouch for how smoke gets into everything.

I used to do housecleaning and a few times I was hired by smokers to clean their homes. OMG. The old lady was shocked when she moved a picture and saw the outline. She wanted us to mop down the walls.

It doesn't work like that. The oils in the smoke had set. It was impossible to get clean.

She also had her drapes taken down and sent out to be cleaned. I could hear her yelling at her son because she was pissed they didn't get as clean as she wanted them too.

Turns out I knew her son, we had both worked at the company a few years back, he told me "A family of 5 has been smoking in that house for 35 years. Its never coming clean and she won't see that." It was in EVERYTHING.

I don't allow smoking in my house. I don't care if you smoke outside but stay away from my birds and kids.

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I wouldn't doubt that it has a great negative impact. I am very sensitive to smoke and as I said on that post....

During my ex's first visitation w/ our son he smoked while holding our son. When my son was home for a 2 hour break (for nursing and nap) I immediately stripped my son down to his diaper (leaving the clothes outside) and baby wiped his entire body. I still coughed non stop for the entire 2 hours because of the smoke residue on his body.

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