This is Public Health – This one habit could be putting your family in danger

(Dover, Ohio) – Have you ever heard of second-hand smoke (SHS)? Of course, you have! We don’t want to bore you by repeating things you already know like SHS can increase the risk of, or cause,  heart attacks, lung cancer, respiratory infections, asthma, and that SHS causes an estimated 600,000 premature deaths per year.

This is Public Health is brought to you by the Tuscarawas County Health Department

However, we would like to share some information with you about SHS right here in Tuscarawas County.

More than half of the Tuscarawas County youth who responded to the 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) reported being exposed to SHS. Of those who reported being exposed to SHS, 80% said they were mostly exposed to SHS at their home, a friends/relatives’ home, or in a car.  More than a quarter of youth reported being exposed to SHS at the fairgrounds and/or a park or ball field.  These are places that children routinely visit and could be potentially filling their lungs up with exhaled smoke from someone else’s cigarette. Yuck!

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Have you ever wondered what happens to the smoke after the cloud disappears?  Third-hand smoke (THS) is the residue that can remain on surfaces for months after someone smokes a cigarette. Did you know THS can even remain on fabric for a year and a half after the last exposure to cigarette smoke? Therefore, those who only smoke in their home or vehicle when they are alone are still unknowingly exposing their loved ones to the toxic chemicals left behind from cigarette smoke.

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The residue left behind in THS can cause lifelong issues like coughing, asthma, respiratory tract infections, and even cancer. Anyone who touches a surface that has THS residue on it can be exposed through skin contact. Children are most vulnerable to THS because they play on the floor and frequently place objects in their mouths.

What can you do to make sure you do not expose your loved ones to SHS or THS?

  • Smoking outside can decrease exposure to SHS and THS. However, the residue will still be on a smoker’s skin, clothes, and hair, which can lead to THS exposure.
  • Thoroughly cleaning your clothes, home, and the vehicle will help remove dangerous chemicals left behind from smoke.
  • Quitting is the best way to eliminate the risk of SHS and THS. Make sure to thoroughly clean everything after you quit. The Ohio Quit Line (1-800-QUIT NOW) is a free resource that provides personal coaching and nicotine replacement therapy to help you quit smoking.
  • Learn more at the websites listed below:

https://www.lung.org/quit-smoking/smoking-facts/health-effects/secondhand-smoke

http://www.center4research.org/third-hand-smoke/

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