Using smoke-free laws as a clear basis for protecting the health and well-being of one section of the population at the expense of another is what we have come to expect from zealots of this order. They recommend 'reasonable' informal negotiation with smoking neighbours as a kick-off and graduate quickly to the point where complainants are advised to record their symptoms. This is deeply alarmist stuff, clearly intending to induce anxiety about the perceived harm from secondary smoke coming through ventilation shafts, wire ducts and who knows what else. Scepticism about the level of harm from smoke inhaled by householders is expressed clearly by anti-smoking scholar Simon Chapman:
Tobacco smoke also contains ultra-fine particles. Other sources of ultra-fine particles (UFPs) include "laser printers, fax machines, photocopiers, the peeling of citrus fruits, cooking, penetration of contaminated outdoor air, chimney cracks and vacuum cleaners." Wallace and Ott's data on concentrations of UFPs in restaurants and cars found "cooking on gas or electric stoves and electric toaster ovens was a major source of UFP, with peak personal exposures often exceeding 100,000 particles/cm3 .... Other common sources of high UFP exposures [in restaurants] were cigarettes, a vented gas clothes dryer, an air popcorn popper, candles, an electric mixer, a toaster, a hair dryer, a curling iron, and a steam iron."
It is important that research documents residuals from tobacco smoke. But it is equally important that consumers and policy makers are not led to believe that the chemical compounds thus located are somehow unique to tobacco smoke. Unless in the extremely unlikely event that residents burn copious quantities of solanaceous vegetables (aubergine, tomato) which contain small amounts of nicotine, tobacco is going to be the only source of nicotine in homes. But it will not by any means be the only source of many of the ingredients of "third hand smoke" that the unwitting or the fumophobic may believe are attributable only to smoking. The omission of this information in such reports risks harming the credibility of tobacco control. [emphasis added]