Published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, the study uncovered alarming data about the extent of secondhand and perhaps third hand smoke exposure by children of smokers. The research team found nicotine residue in the hair samples of 7 out of 10 children who participated in the study. However, the researchers found that parental behavior related to smoking may be changed through regular monitoring of children’s exposure.

The study included 140 Israeli families, consisting of parents of children of up to 8 years of age, and with at least one smoking parent. The smoking average per household was 15 cigarettes per day. And while one third of the respondents reported smoking inside the home, one third said that they smoke in their outdoor spaces, such as home terraces, but not inside the home.

The researchers said that with nicotine residue found in the hair of 70% of the children tested, the findings were very concerning. However, six months after the start of the study, the researchers conducted follow-up nicotine tests on the same sample of children, and found a significant improvement in the data, with the percentage of children whose hair samples contained nicotine decreasing from 66% to 53%.

Thirdhand smoke residue

Meanwhile, a 2020 study titled, “Remediating Thirdhand Smoke Pollution in Multiunit Housing: Temporary Reductions and the Challenges of Persistent Reservoirs,” aimed to identify the the effects of different cleaning methods on reducing thirdhand smoke residue.

The researchers found that best way to reduce thirdhand smoke exposure, is through clearing household dust.
“We wanted to see if there were any solutions available for people who live in homes that are polluted with thirdhand smoke. We explored three options for cleaning, and tested apartments for nicotine contamination before, after, and three months after each cleaning,” explained lead study author Georg Matt of San Diego State University.

The study participants were split in three groups. The first were assigned to dry/damp cleaning followed by wet cleaning 1 month later, the second to wet cleaning followed by dry/damp cleaning 1 month later, and the third dry/damp and wet cleaning applied the same day.

The researchers measured the levels of nicotine on surfaces and in dust before smoke exposure, immediately after, and 3 months after the cleaning, using liquid chromatography with triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS).

All cleaning methods reduced nicotine only temporarily

The study results indicated that nicotine contamination was immediately reduced in all three groups following cleaning. However, regardless of the cleaning method, nicotine contamination in all homes increased again during the three months following cleaning.

Read Further: Tel Aviv University

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