Thirdhand Smoke: New Evidence, Challenges, and Future Directions
Thirdhand smoke (THS) is the contamination that persists after secondhand tobacco smoke has been emitted into air. It refers to the tobacco-related gases and particles that become embedded in materials, such as the carpet, walls, furniture, blankets, and toys. THS is not strictly smoke, but chemicals that adhere to surfaces from which they can be released back into the air, undergo chemical transformations and/or accumulate. Currently, the hazards of THS are not as well documented as the hazards of secondhand smoke (SHS). In this Perspective, we describe the distribution and chemical changes that occur as SHS is transformed into THS, studies of environmental contamination by THS, human exposure studies, toxicology studies using animal models and in vitro systems, possible approaches for avoiding exposure, remediation of THS contamination, and priorities for further research.