Feeds

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

Deadly 'electronic gaspers' fingered, too

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.