Is Third-Hand Smoke Real? Is It Harmful?
    By News Staff | March 16th 2014 07:49 PM | 3 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    Leftover cigarette smoke clings to walls and furniture and could pose a far more serious threat, according to a presentation at the National Meeting&Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) which says that one compound from this "third-hand smoke" can damage DNA and and even potentially cause cancer. 

    Bo Hang, Ph.D., of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory noted that the idea of third-hand smoke only come into existence in 2009, But that evidence already suggests it could threaten human health. In test tubes, anyway.

    "The best argument for instituting a ban on smoking indoors is actually third-hand smoke," said Hang.

    The hypothesis behind third-hand smoke is that some of the more than 4,000 compounds in cigarette smoke can linger long after the cigarette is extinguished. Based on studies led by Hugo Destaillats, Ph.D., also at LBNL, these substances can go on to react with indoor pollutants such as ozone and nitrous acid, creating brand-new compounds, some of which may be carcinogenic. 

    One of those compounds goes by the acronym NNA. Hang says that NNA, a tobacco-specific nitrosamine, locks onto DNA to form a bulky adduct - a piece of DNA bound to a cancer-causing chemical - as well as other adducts in laboratory test tubes. Other large compounds that attach to DNA tend to cause genetic mutations. NNA also breaks the DNA about as often as a related compound called NNK, which is a well-studied byproduct of nicotine and a known potent carcinogen. This kind of DNA damage can lead to uncontrolled cell growth and the formation of cancerous tumors.

    Just as it took years to establish the cancer-causing effects of smoke that is inhaled as a person breathes in directly from the cigarette, making the connection between third-hand smoke or NNA and cancer could take a long time.  There are no deaths attributed to second-hand smoke so the connection to third-hand smoke has only been embraced by activists who want to ban smoking altogether.

    After third hand smoke was created in 2009, a California consortium was created to find evidence for it in 2010. That consortium helped fund this work on NNA-induced DNA damage, which hopes to eventually be used as biomarkers to identify people who have been exposed to third-hand smoke. 

    Although many public places have banned smoking, people can still smoke in most rental apartments and private residences and Hang believes that should change. As of 2011, CDC statistics say nearly 34 million American adults still report smoking cigarettes and the numbers in Europe and Asia are even higher. 


    Michael J. McFadden
    Nonsense. I devoted an entire chapter to this in my book, showing how ridiculous it is. Basically the researchers find submicroscopic amounts of chemicals that could be picked up on the skin of children (It always helps to wave children around like a flag when you want to scare people!), then ignore just how small the amounts are, while going on to talk about the deadly consequences of amounts a million, billion, or trillion times as large. . . . . . 

     When a researcher named Winickoff first blew the idea of thirdhand smoke into media headlines five years ago it was by stressing it contained "PO 210 that killed a KGB spy with just 5 millicuries!" What the Antismokers never mentioned is that even if you let your little Egbert lick a whole square foot of smokers' floors clean every day it would take literally TWENTY THREE TRILLION YEARS for him or her to lick up 5 millicuries! That's 230 billion centuries. Seriously: that's the time involved. Google the following, exactly as is, WITH the misspelling of Russian and the parentheses: ("Russion KGB" mcfadden polonium) and you'll see I'm not exaggerating. The figure there, 2.3T years was based on ten square feet of flooring a day... which would be a bit much even for the hungriest kid.  . . . . . 

    Michael J. McFadden, 
    Author of "TobakkoNacht -- The Antismoking Endgame"
    The  problem of smoking is that it invovles confounding which is bias. One  may state that indirect smoke or second hand smoke if removed has problems of increased risk in Western countries, (which I am publised for) for lung cancer and head neck cancer plus colorectal cancer that has risk and interaction  from drinking and smoking. An example of interaction is effect modification which is when the exposure will increase the riks of outocme by 10 % change acorss strata. Confounding occurs when a variable that is independent of the exposure changes the outcome by 10%. I personally use my own method invovling p values as criteria for effect modification (A new effect modification p value test demonstrated and confounding. When an expsoure such as smoking has indirect and direct risk increases as is the case in smoking other variables may actually show higher risk due to multicollinearity and negative confounding (  ). Plus smoking is a chronic problem. It's risks for being carcinogenic is well documented. Plsu an added problem is random effect in which the risks still exist. Fixed effect which you seem to address have limited possibilites for generalization which random effects do not lack.
    Michael J. McFadden
    A point I neglected to note in my earlier posting, but which is something I have seen done many, MANY times by antismoking interests:  This is simply a recycled scare story from July 2013.  Google "Bo Hang" and "Third hand smoke" for the year 2013 and you'll see I'm telling the truth.   This method of recycling old studies as "New News!" is what gives people such a strong belief that "there are THOUSANDS of studies that PROVE..." etc.  
    This technique is actually something I discussed in my first book, several years ago, "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains."  It's a cute trick, and very effective, but you need the money to buy the expensive press-release services to give the stories a big splash.  Unfortunately, the "Tobacco Control" folks HAVE that sort of money: According to the American Medical Association, they were getting between 500 million and 900 million dollars EVERY YEAR for the past fifteen years or so from the smokers' MSA tax.

    Always nice when you are forced to pay a special tax that gets used to persecute you, eh?

    - MJM