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Be Aware of Smokers

Thirdhand smoke can damage epithelial cells in the respiratory system by stressing cells and causing them to fight for survival.
According to a new research study by scientists from the University of California - Riverside, thirdhand smoke can damage epithelial cells in the respiratory system by stressing cells and causing them to fight for survival. Such finding could be helpful in assisting health care professionals treating patients exposed to thirdhand smoke.
"Our data show that cells in humans are affected by thirdhand smoke," said Prue Talbot, a professor in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, who led the research. "The health effects of THS, have been studied in cultured cells and animal models, but this is the first study to show a direct effect of thirdhand smoke on gene expression in humans."
Thirdhand smoke, or THS refers to the residues left behind by smoking. These residues can be found on such as clothing, hair, furniture, and cars.  These are not strictly smoke. 
"THS can resurface into the atmosphere and can be inhaled unwillingly by nonsmokers," said Giovanna Pozuelos, the first author of the research paper and a graduate student in Talbot's lab. "It has not been widely studied, which may explain why no regulations are in place to protect nonsmokers from it."

"Many people do not know what THS is," said Talbot, the director of the UCR Stem Cell Center. "We hope our study raises awareness of this potential health hazard. Many smoking adults think, 'I smoke outside, so my family inside the house will not get exposed.' But smokers carry chemicals like nicotine indoors with their clothes. It's important that people understand that THS is real and potentially harmful."

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of California - Riverside. Original written by Iqbal Pittalwala. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Giovanna L. Pozuelos, Meenakshi S. Kagda, Suzaynn Schick, Thomas Girke, David C. Volz, Prue Talbot. Experimental Acute Exposure to Thirdhand Smoke and Changes in the Human Nasal Epithelial TranscriptomeJAMA Network Open, 2019; 2 (6): e196362 DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.6362