A briefing called Third-hand Smoke has appeared today. It was only a matter of time as ASH Scotland has been gathering information on Third-hand Smoke for some months now. The opening is classic ASH Scotland:
- the ‘three r’ definition of third-hand smoke is that it describes residual tobacco smoke pollutants which remain on surfaces and in dust after tobacco has been smoked, are re-emitted back into the gas phase, or react with oxidants and other compounds in the environment to yield secondary pollutants
- even without understanding what third-hand smoke is, people have long been aware of its presence and are beginning to understand how it can affect clothes, hair, cars and homes, and create stains and odours
- existing evidence on THS suggests a strong need for further research to close gaps in the current understanding of the chemistry, exposure, toxicology, and health effects, as well as behavioural, economic, and socio-cultural consequences
- whereas there is a long-established evidence base for the health impact of second-hand smoke, there is still a lack of human health studies on the potential health impact of third-hand smoke
- the greater and more quantifiable health dangers from SHS suggest that health professionals should focus on reducing exposure to SHS, including by promoting smoke-free homes and vehicles. [italic emphasis added]
A 2010 study* indicated that third-hand smoke accumulates in smokers' homes and persists even after homes have been vacant for two months and are cleaned and prepared for new residents; the study suggested that non-smokers living in former smoker homes are exposed to THS in dust and on surfaces. (* Matt, George E et al. When smokers move out and non-smokers move in: residential thirdhand smoke pollution and exposure. Tobacco Control, 2011;20:e1. http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com [Accessed 06 May 2011])Answer – to devalue the effects of smokers: the properties they own, or rent. To impoverish them, basically. And to devalue smokers as buyers of property and (especially) as tenants. Note that this study emerged in 2010, and they still, half-way through 2011, don't have any evidence that third-hand smoke harms anyone. Yet they are printing this rather inflammatory material It talks of a potential health hazard to infants: no sick babies to hand, just potential research contracts.
A further purpose is to continue pushing ASH Scotland's agenda to get people smoking outside. ASH Scotland's strategy document Beyond Smoke-free includes the following in its short-term aims:
We must develop robust intermediate and endpoint targets to reduce second-hand smoke exposure in the home and in vehicles, in order to support awareness raising work and work in communities.And the following in its medium-term aims:
We need to be realistic about the difficulties some people have. We must promote effective harm reduction strategies, including the use of nicotine replacement for temporary abstinence, to protect children from exposure to secondhand smoke in the home.All the more easy for them, if they can persuade enough people of the dangers of third-hand smoke without needing to prove it or even show any understanding of it. The briefing does say that the research on third-hand smoke is not conclusive. But it is 'aimed at parents and carers', talks about infants crawling across the carpet and generally attempts to stir the shit on the basis of lucrative speculation, in pursuance of its agenda.