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Reducing the Risk of Third Hand Smoke Exposure

My Dad smoked tobacco from when he was very young to the day he had his 5th (and last) heart attack at 57 years old. I recall frequent ear and respiratory infections, bouts of pneumonia, and several other symptoms as a child now recognized as potentially attributed to tobacco smoke exposure.

What does this have to do with STOP Restoration (STOP) – Boston Metrowest? Tobacco smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes, referred to as second hand smoke, penetrates porous/semi-porous surfaces and leaves a residue that damages materials, leaves a distinct odor, and can be harmful to those exposed to it if not cleaned properly.

What We Know About Second Hand Smoke

According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), “Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a tobacco product and the smoke breathed out by the user. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals; hundreds are toxic, and about 70 can cause cancer.”

We know about the seriously harmful effects of second-hand smoke exposure to people, especially children. If we open windows to “air out,” or even “only smoke in the bathroom with the window open,” is the exposure eliminated? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. The tobacco smoke leaves a sticky residue, which we now know as third hand smoke. Our goal is to help protect Boston residents from third hand smoke.

What Is Third Hand Smoke?

There is evidence that third hand smoke is harmful. Dr. Hays at the Mayo Clinic says, “Thirdhand smoke is residual nicotine and other chemicals left on indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke. People are exposed to these chemicals by touching contaminated surfaces or breathing in the off-gassing from these surfaces. This residue is thought to react with common indoor pollutants to create a toxic mix including cancer causing compounds, posing a potential health hazard to nonsmokers — especially children.”

Indoor surfaces including the walls, ceiling, and carpet and items like furniture and toys can all be collectors of third hand smoke. If someone has smoked in a car, the upholstery, windows, and children’s car seats have all trapped toxins. Children are especially at risk of ingesting the toxins left on household items, toys, and the clothes of caregivers by directly putting the object in their mouth or touching the object and then putting their hands in their mouth.

How Do I Get Rid of Third Hand Smoke Residue?

Painting and putting in new carpet without first removing the third hand smoke residue is not recommended. The nicotine residue (and odor) will continue to penetrate through paint and new flooring, thereby wasting money.

Hire a professional remediation service in the Boston area. Similar to any industry and service, choosing the best cleaning and restoration company can be stressful. You are intentionally making decisions to improve the health and safety in your environment and need the nicotine residue and cigarette smell eliminated. And you want the restoration done right the first time!

STOP Metrowest upholds the highest standards and commitment to thorough and safe residue and odor removal using the most up-date methods and products in the restoration industry. STOP also protects the employees doing the work with proper personal protective equipment like safety glasses, gloves, and masks. Safety is our priority for our customers and team members.

To learn more about STOP and set an appointment for a free estimate, call today at 508-841-3082.

Light bulb with string Second hand smoke damage

Third hand smoke residue on lightbulb and cord.

Smoke damage to light fixture

Cleaning the outlet plate is the easy part! For third hand smoke, clean or replace the switch.