Third-hand smoke just as deadly as smoking

‘Third-hand smoking’, wherein a non-smoker develops all the health ailments a chronic smoker does, is the new age disease, according to doctors in Bangalore.

It is a malady where a person inhales chemicals present in air, long after a smoker has left the place and comes in contact with ash deposited around, that triggers cancer.

While there is enough awareness about active and passive smoking and their ill-effects on health, ‘third-hand smoking’ is an emerging issue that is leaving room for a lot of research.

One might not smoke or consume a tobacco product himself, not even be present, while a smoker is in the vicinity.

However, there still remains a good chance of developing various health ailments that the smoker does, doctors have told Deccan Herald.

Dr Vishal Rao, consultant oncologist at the BGS Hospital,    said that after a smoker leaves the room, there are still substances that could be harmful. Rao is also a member of the Institute of Public Health.

“There is ash and other minute residual matter that get accumulated on clothes, mattresses, walls and other places around, which contain harmful chemicals,” he said
Besides asthma attacks and respiratory problems, one could also suffer nausea.

Lakshmi, a resident of Kammanahalli who suffers from asthma, said that even though she is not around when her roommates at her flat smoke, coming in contact with even minimal ash triggers an attack.

“I have always had roommates who are smokers. The cigarette stubs have a pungent smell that could give you a headache and make you nauseous, if you are not used to smoking. I think the uncleared stubs and the cigarette dust are more dangerous than being near a person who is smoking,” she said.

HCG Hospital surgical oncologist Dr K S Gopinath said that while the person may not be a smoker, chances of developing complications were higher.

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