San Francisco Personal Injury Attorney Comments on Legal Implications of Third-Hand Smoke

http://The term third-hand smoke is a relatively new term that troubles some researchers and non-smokers. According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, and as is discussed in Scientific American, third-hand smoke is a cocktail of toxins that linger in carpets, sofas, clothes and other materials hours or even days after a cigarette is put out, and it is a health hazard for infants and children. The study shows that most people surveyed agreed second-hand smoke is dangerous, but not all agreed that third-hand smoke can harm the health of infants. Third hand smoke actually refers to the toxins that remain and then pile up over time, coating the surfaces of a room. In small spaces the build up is heavy and noticeable, in larger spaces it is less visable-but that does not mean the smoke can not enter a child’s nose. Smokers, too, are contaminated and actually emit toxins from both their clothing and hair.
The toxins may be difficult to quantify, nevertheless they are present after the cigarette is put out. Consider the this: cyanide, a chemical that interferes with the release of oxygen to the tissues, and arsenic, a poisen used to kill mammals, are present in cigarette smoke. These toxins can build in layers on surfaces, such as floors, and pose a greater risk to children, simply because they are the ones exposed to these surfaces. They also ingest twice the amount of dust as adults, as they are have faster respiration and are closer to dusty surfaces. The developing brain is especially susceptible to low levels of toxins. As a result of these new revelations, several courts have recognized the right of children to be protected from thirdhand smoke. For example, in custody disputes, some judges have stipulated that there be no smoking 24 to 48 hours before a child is expected to arrive and smoking– or banned even when the child is not present, thereby protecting them from third-hand smoke. This new information shows that as more people become aware of the dangers of tobacco smoke residue, both judges and legislators will face the challenge of extending to nonsmokers the same protections from third-hand smoke as are provided from second-hand smoke.