Measuring What Our Noses Detect: A New Way to Quantify Thirdhand Smoke Odors

Most people experience thirdhand smoke through its distinctive scent—that smoky, foul odor that remains in a room, even after the cigarette has been put out. Indeed, the odor of thirdhand smoke is one of the only ways we can perceive this toxic chemical residue, as thirdhand smoke is often invisible. However, our sense of smell is a very complex biological process that allows us to detect chemicals through subjective odor experiences. In other words, one person may enter a room and smell thirdhand smoke odor, but another person may not.

Researchers from the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Kitakyushu, Japan, have found a promising new method of measuring these thirdhand smoke odors. This is noteworthy because scientific detection of odors is an important window into how people experience thirdhand smoke. The researchers used gas detector tubes to measure the levels of ammonium and pyridine being emitted from five different fabric samples. Ammonium and pyridine are only two of the hundreds of thirdhand smoke compounds that were selected because they can be reliably measured. Now that this new measurement method has shown promise, the gas detector tube method can be expanded to measure other thirdhand smoke compounds. This is the first step towards understanding and standardizing the little-understood process by which we smell thirdhand smoke odors.

Click here to read the research study.

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: