Issue 16 October 2018
Smoke-Free Colusa County Newsletter
The Smoke-Free Colusa County Subcommittee, part of the Colusa County Partners for Health, aims to improve the health of Colusa County residents through education and promotion of a tobacco-free lifestyle.
Thirdhand Smoke
Image property of California Department of Public Health
Article by Maribel Rivera
                 Many of us are aware that smoking and secondhand smoke is harmful to our health; however, not many are aware of the effects of thirdhand smoke (THS). Thirdhand smoke is a fairly new area of study in public health. Although it may be a new area of study, it is something to be aware of that can be damaging to ourselves and loved ones. 

Thirdhand smoke is the smoke residue that is left behind when someone smokes. If the person smokes indoors, THS sticks to surfaces such as walls, furniture and floors. It can also settle on a person’s hair, skin and clothing. The residue can build up over time in household dust, vents and surfaces. Common cleaning methods such as vacuuming, wiping surfaces, and airing out rooms do not remove THS. 1

Although THS is a new area of study, it poses many health risks that affect our bodies. When THS residue is left behind on indoor surfaces, it poses a risk for both inhalation and ingestion. THS can be harmful to children and infants because they are constantly on the floors and use their hands and mouths to explore surfaces. Long term exposure to THS has been shown to damage human cells and DNA and can be linked with issues such as asthma and cancer. 2,3

Those who live in multi-housing apartments are prone to higher THS exposure because of the high turnover in apartments. 1,4,5 As mentioned before, common cleaning methods do not remove the THS residue. If a considerable amount of smoking has occurred, replacing wall boards and furnishing may be necessary to reduce levels of THS. The structure of apartment complexes may also contribute to the contamination of THS in non-smoking homes. Smoke can travel through ventilation systems, down hallways, or through windows, exposing non-smokers and their family members to the health risks of THS.

If you are concerned about exposure to tobacco smoke in your home, there are various ways you can start to address it. Colusa County Tobacco Education Program can work with you on issues your family might be facing – please feel free to reach out to us at 530-458-0380 or .
1. Matt, G., et al., Thirdhand tobacco smoke: emerging evidence and arguments for a multi-disciplinary research agenda . Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011: p. 119(9): 1218-26.
2. Hang, B., et al., Thirdhand smoke causes DNA damage in human cells . Mutagenesis, 2013. 28 (4): p. 381-91.
3. Jacob, P., et al., Thirdhand Smoke: New Evidence, Challenges, and Future Directions . Chemical Research in Toxicology, 2016.
4. Samet, J.M., D. Chanson, and H. Wipfli, The Challenges of Limiting Exposure to THS in Vulnerable Populations . Curr Environ Health Rep, 2015. 2 (3): p. 215-25.
5. Kraev, T.A., et al., Indoor concentrations of nicotine in low-income, multi-unit housing: associations with smoking behaviours and housing characteristics . Tob Control, 2009. 18 (6): p. 438-44.
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Next Colusa County Partners for Health Meeting
The next Colusa County Partners for Health meeting will take place on January 10th from 12:00-2:00 at Colusa Industrial Properties (CIP) Meeting Room at 50 Sunrise Boulevard, Colusa.

Please RSVP to to be included in the lunch order!
Interested in a meeting or community presentation to learn more about secondhand smoke, thirdhand smoke, tobacco marketing towards youth, or the Colusa County Tobacco Education Program? Contact us directly to schedule an appointment:

Colusa County Tobacco Education Program
Contact: Amanda Pitts
Phone: (530) 458-0380
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Colusa County Public Health | Tobacco Education Program | (530) 458-0380 | 251 E. Webster Street Colusa, CA 95932