Smoking is injurious to health, everyone knows that. You might have heard about this tagline usually in TV ads or in movie theatres. Even the companies selling cigarettes have written on their packets that it can cause cancer. But people are unaware that even without smoking you can have the ill effects caused by the smoking. Now a question arises that how a non-smoker can be affected by smoke and cigarettes. Well, the answer is hidden in your surroundings. A non-smoker can have all the ill effects of smoking by Second Hand or THIRD-HAND SMOKING. If you are standing or sitting near a smoker, the smoke is not only harming that person who is consuming it, but also to you. You are also inhaling that polluted air which contains the tobacco smoke; this is known as Second Hand Smoking. Even if you are not present with the person at that moment, still you can get exposed to these chemicals because the place contains the residual on the surfaces like furniture, glass or in the environment. Therefore, either by touching the contaminated surfaces or by breathing in such environment, you are taking the harmful chemicals inside you. This residue when reacting with the indoor pollutants can result in harmful cancer-causing compounds. This is known as Third-Hand Smoking.
The tobacco smoke reacts with the nitrous acid in the environment and can create carcinogens, a substance that can cause cancer.
Mostly infants or children get affected by third-hand smoking. As the residue is settled on the surface where the smoking is done, who so ever touches the things present there is most likely to get affected by the chemicals. Children have a habit of touching or playing with the things present indoors. They jump from one place to other and touch several things in the house. Similarly, infants touch everything within their reach. In fact, infants are more likely to suffer from illness as they put their hands in the mouth more often. Infants touch the things near to them and try to put them in their mouths such as clothes or toys. If the things are not mobile, let us say, it is a wall, vehicle or carpet, they will put their own hand in their mouth. In any which case, the harmful chemicals are going inside their bodies. Parents carry their children in the lap or sometimes feed them with their hands without washing them. In such a case, the harmful chemicals present on the hands of the smoker, which are passed to their child’s body easily. The contaminants can pass through the skin as well.
Liver and Brain both are most important part of the body. The liver is responsible for metabolism (conversion of food to energy) and detoxification (removal of toxic substances from the body); whereas brain decides the overall functioning of the human body as well as the behavior of a person.
As per an experiment was done on mice, it was put into observation for 4-6 months under an environment of Third Hand Smoking (THS). The first month resulted in liver damage, while in the further months there was more molecular damage. After a long time, it showed a condition of insulin resistance.
Within a month, there was an increase of stress hormones, epinephrine, which helps to fight emergency or stressful situations, but suppresses the immune system as well, whereas other stress hormones were seen gradually with the passing of the time in the next few months such as ACTH, which showed the behavioral changes. The ACTH production is controlled by the brain as well as by the pituitary gland.
According to a research of the University of California, people who were exposed to the smoke for a month were seen with health issues compared to the people who were living in the healthy environment.
According to Martin-Green, “THS is a stealth toxin, a silent killer”.
By damaging the liver, it can create an obstruction in the functioning of the detoxification of the body and disturbs the metabolism process.
By creating harm to the other molecules, it can send body under a lot of stress because of which an increase in stress hormones is noticed which ultimately affects the behavior and the brain functioning. Excess secretion of stress hormones weakens the memory or can make the case worse in long term.
The research is still going on about how adversely the same environment is able to harm humans. The speed can vary of the reactions. Its process might be slow or fast as compared to the mice case study, but it surely is affecting everyone who is living in such environments.
Smoking is not only killing the person who is consuming it but their near and ones as well. Save yourself, save your world.
Avoid first-hand smoking, so that second and third-hand smoking level should never reach.