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Thirdhand smoke is a toxic residue that sticks to surfaces and objects. People and pets come into contact with thirdhand smoke when their skin touches a surface where thirdhand smoke has collected, when they breathe in thirdhand smoke chemicals that are in the air, and when they swallow residue that are on objects that they put in their mouths. Exposure is most dangerous for babies, children, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions.

On this page, you will find scientific information and first-hand accounts about preventing human exposure to thirdhand smoke. We also provide communication strategies for talking with others about thirdhand smoke dangers.

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Where Thirdhand Smoke Can Hide

Thirdhand smoke residue can be found in many places in your home. This interactive website, created by the Eastern Virginia Medical School, is a great way to learn more about some of these key places.

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Grandma’s Cigarette by Mr. Philip Galanes

Philip Galanes writes a Social Q’s column for The New York Times that offers “lighthearted advice about awkward social situations.” In one column, a subscriber recognizes the dangers of tobacco pollutants for children and posts a question about how to navigate her mother-in-law’s smoking around her newborn child. Click to read Mr. Galane’s helpful reply.

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