If you’re a relatively healthy person, you might think your cancer risk is low.
Especially if you don’t often engage in bad habits like smoking.
However, experts have warned that even if you don’t smoke cigarettes, you could be at risk of serious complications.
Smoking is dangerous and can cause a number of health problems, including lung cancer.
In a recent study, doctors revealed that there is such a thing as secondhand smoke.
It can be smoke that lingers on clothing and household products such as bedding and couches.
The difference between secondhand and thirdhand smoke is that you’re more likely to inhale chemicals from surfaces and items, rather than directly from cigarettes.
This means that even just living with or being around someone who smokes could increase your risk of getting the disease.
Even if you’ve never smoked, you can get lung cancer.
Previous studies found that secondhand smoke, the smoke you inhale from other smokers, can also be deadly.
When you smoke, most of it doesn’t go into your lungs, but into the air around you.
Secondhand smoke is the smoke you exhale, plus the “side stream” of smoke created by the lit end of your cigarette, says the NHS.
Those who inhale this on a regular basis are more likely to suffer from the same diseases as smokers, as well as heart disease.
Experts at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, USA, studied the impacts of secondhand smoke and said that the dangerous chemicals included in cigarettes can persist.
Writing in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, these, say doctors, can cause major long-term health risks.
Living in these smoky spaces and handling items like clothing and bedding that have been around the smoke could be enough to expose someone to toxic levels.
The experts specifically looked at TSNAs (tobacco-specific nitrosamines), which is a cancer-causing compound that occurs when surfaces absorb toxins and nitrous acid (HONO).
Study leader Xiaochen Tang of Berkeley Lab’s indoor environment group said: “Nicotine is released in large quantities during smoking and covers all indoor surfaces, including human skin.
“We found that the presence of skin oils and sweat on the model surfaces resulted in higher TSNA performance in the presence of HONO, compared to clean surfaces.”
The experts analyzed the penetration of nicotine through the skin of mice.
They found that direct dermal contact resulted in accumulation and circulation in the body for seven days after ceasing dermal exposure.
Doctors said inhalation, dust ingestion and dermal exposure were responsible for transmitting the smoke and its harmful effects.
“These cumulative exposures can contribute to an elevated risk of cancer.
“Dermal exposure routes contribute significantly to TSNA intake at levels that may be comparable to or even higher than inhalation,” they said in the paper.
Co-author Neal Benowitz added, “These findings illustrate the potential health impacts of secondhand smoke, which contains not only TSNA, but hundreds of other chemicals, some of which are also known carcinogens.”
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