Feeds

New cig peril: Third-hand smoke coats puffers in poison

Deadly 'electronic gaspers' fingered, too

High performance access to file storage

US federal boffins in Berkeley, California say they have discovered yet another deadly hazard associated with smoking. They also raise warnings regarding the perils associated with electronic cigarettes.

The dangers of actually smoking a cigarette, and those from breathing a smoker's "second hand" smoke were well-known: but now we learn of that insidious killer "third hand smoke".

"The burning of tobacco releases nicotine in the form of a vapor that adsorbs strongly onto indoor surfaces, such as walls, floors, carpeting, drapes and furniture. Nicotine can persist on those materials for days, weeks and even months. Our study shows that when this residual nicotine reacts with ambient nitrous acid it forms carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines or TSNAs," says Hugo Destaillats of the Indoor Environment Department at Berkeley Lab. "TSNAs are among the most broadly acting and potent carcinogens present in unburned tobacco and tobacco smoke."

Basically it isn't enough to banish smokers to an outdoor area, there to suck and gasp on their burning sooty treats. As they do so, their clothes and skin will become coated with deadly nicotine, which will then react with nitrous acid floating inside a building - usually generated by "unvented gas appliances" or diesel engines, apparently - to form a slick of poisonous slime which they will drip everywhere in the style of giant, evil snails.

"Smoking outside is better than smoking indoors but nicotine residues will stick to a smoker's skin and clothing," says Lara Gundel of the Berkeley Lab. "Those residues follow a smoker back inside and get spread everywhere. The biggest risk is to young children. Dermal uptake of the nicotine through a child's skin is likely to occur when the smoker returns and if nitrous acid is in the air, which it usually is, then TSNAs will be formed."

And don't think you're getting away with the use of a so-called "electronic cigarette". These battery powered in-mouth devices vapourise a nicotine solution into a mist, allowing a hopeless drug-slave to get his or her fix without generating any first or second-hand smoke. But the nicotine fog, according to the Berkeley researchers, will still generate third-hand smoko-slime, and kill children by the score.

It seems that only "100 percent smoke free environments in public places" - presumably meaning not even outdoor smoking - can be acceptably healthy. In the case of buildings where "substantial smoking" has occurred in the past, the Berkeley profs recommend that the carpets, walls, furniture and ceilings be replaced.

There's more on the new discoveries here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.