Third-hand smoke can damage human cells

By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 25, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – An anti-tobacco advocate wants a 100 percent smoke-free environment based on a US study that third-hand smoke can damage human cells.

Diana Trivino, Health Justice project manager, has expressed hope that the newly elected lawmakers will push for more comprehensive smoke-free laws and guarantee 100 percent smoke-free environments.

“These new findings clearly show that laws mandating 100 percent smoke-free environments are the only effective way to protect the public,” she said. “We hope they realize that the lack of protection from smoking and from exposure to second-hand and third-hand smoke goes against their duty to uphold the Filipino’s right to health.”

The study of researchers from the Laurence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California showed that exposure to third-hand smoke from cigarettes could cause significant damage to human cells.

Health Justice describes third-hand smoke as the residue created once second-hand smoke from cigarettes has disappeared.

It clings to curtains, walls, furniture and other surfaces, and that it remains on materials long after they have been washed.

In conducting the study, paper strips were placed in smoke chambers to simulate short or acute and long or chronic exposures.

The samples were subjected to genotocity testing, a process used to determine if a substance, product or environmental samples induces genetic damage.

The statement said the researchers found that third-hand smoke could cause both DNA strand breaks and oxidative DNA damage, leading to gene mutation.