Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Article Warns of Dangers of "Fourth-Hand" Smoke

An article at Bottom Line/Personal, based on an interview with a tobacco control researcher, warns the public about the potential hazards of fourth-hand smoke.

What is fourth-hand smoke, you ask?

Why, it is smoke exposure resulting from being in the presence of someone who themselves was in the presence of a smoker.

According to the article: "There are at least 250 poisonous gases, chemicals and metals in cigarette smoke, and they can cling to the hair and clothing of people who don’t smoke themselves but spend time among smokers. Young children (and adults, including at-risk adults, such as those with asthma, heart disease or COPD) may be exposed to these toxins when they are near people who smoke or who have spent time with smokers."

The Rest of the Story

So let's get this straight. If I do not smoke and I am not in the presence of secondhand smoke and I am not exposed to anyone who is a smoker, I can still obtain significant exposure to tobacco smoke by being near someone who has spent time with a smoker?

I guess before sitting down at the Thanksgiving dinner table, nonsmokers should first ask everyone at the table if they have recently spent time with anyone who is a smoker.

If fourth-hand smoke is such a hazard, then to promote a healthy workforce, the St. Francis Medical Center and Anna Jacques Hospital should not only refuse to employ people who smoke, but they should also refuse to employ anyone who spends time with smokers or who spends time with anyone who themselves spends time with smokers.

Should we continue to allow smokers to serve as teachers and day care providers, even if they do not smoke in the presence of children? Should we allow individuals who spend time with smokers to serve as day care providers, especially if they are taking care of infants and very young children? And perhaps we should refuse to allow individuals who spend time with people who spend time with smokers to serve as teachers and day care providers for young children.

Perhaps the Aberdeen City Council should not only disallow smokers to adopt children, but also individuals who spend time with smokers or who spend time with people who spend time with smokers. After all, if fourth-hand smoke is such a hazard to infants and young children, then how can we allow them to be exposed by placing them with parents who have associated with people who have been around smokers?

(Thanks for Michael J. McFadden for the tip).

1 comment:

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