Collaborative Consortium on Thirdhand Smoke: Research Projects and Core Resources

This series features the Consortium’s newly funded projects, which engage in groundbreaking research about the nature and health consequences of thirdhand smoke. Thirdhand smoke is the chemical residue that is left behind on clothes, skin, furniture, walls, and other surfaces after someone smokes. In this installment we feature the work of Dr. Suzaynn Schick from the University of California, San Francisco and Dr. Nathan Dodder from San Diego State University.

New Consortium Research Projects

Melanin and Dermal Uptake of Thirdhand Smoke in Human Exposures
Suzaynn Schick, PhD
University of California San Francisco

This project will look at how the color of someone’s skin affects how their body absorbs chemicals from tobacco smoke. Melanin is the pigment that gives color to our skin, hair, and eyes. It also helps drugs, like nicotine, stick to our skin. Although African-Americans tend to start smoking later and smoke fewer cigarettes than White people, they are more likely to die from smoking-related diseases. The research project examines if exposure to tobacco smoked chemicals through one’s skin is influenced by skin color.  This study will involve 60 people, with 30 having light-colored skin and 30 having dark-colored skin. Everyone will wear clothes that have been exposed to cigarette smoke for three hours. After, their blood and urine will be tested to see how their body absorbs nicotine and other chemicals. If people with more melanin in their skin absorb less nicotine, it may mean that melanin helps protect against smoking-related diseases and that the increased disease risks are from other factors.

When asked how her study would contribute to the Tobacco Endgame, Dr. Schick said that whether we find that melanin is protective or harmful, our findings can be used to craft persuasive public health messages that counter the targeting of darker-skinned people by the tobacco industry and to improve scholarly understanding of the risks of environmental exposure to tobacco smoke. 

Read full abstract here.

New Consortium Research Projects

Dr. Nathan Dodder

Thirdhand Smoke in Homes: Fate, Characterization, and Remediation
Nathan Dodder, PhD
San Diego State University

When people smoke indoors, tobacco smoke chemicals stick to surfaces and can become embedded in furniture, building materials, carpets, mattresses, clothes, and other personal belongings. Little is known about which material collect the most residue, how long it can stay there, and how quickly it can off-gas. The project will study the sorption (sticking) and desorption (releasing) of thirdhand smoke chemicals in common household materials like carpet, drywall, and cushioned furniture. The researchers will collect samples from people’s homes and test different methods to get remove thirdhand smoke. The results will help people know how to best clean thirdhand smoke in their homes and understand the risks of exposure.

When asked how his study would contribute to the Tobacco Endgame, Dr. Dodder said that outcomes from this research will contribute to Tobacco Endgame policies by informing occupants of indoor spaces about the effectiveness of remediation strategies for thirdhand smoke polluted environments and what they can expect in terms of the longevity of thirdhand smoke contamination.

Read full abstract here.

More Must Read Stories

Share This
Tweet This
Email This

Stay Informed

Get the latest thirdhand smoke news and research delivered straight to your inbox, or follow us on social media: