Can you imagine if a company produced a product and told you “this product is not really safe - as a matter of fact if you use it, you will likely harm your child” Well it’s time we all woke up. The tobacco companies have already made a product that can boast this claim; cigarettes. Cigarettes are the only product on the market today that if used as they are intended, will cause harm. Automobile manufacturers have been successfully sued for producing vehicles with safety flaws, these vehicle were not meant to be unsafe however an oversight resulted in these mistakes. Cigarettes on the other hand are sold to the public with full knowledge that they will cause harm, it even tells you this on the packaging.
A study completed by the doctors of MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston found that “third hand smoke” poses a real threat to health, especially the health of small children. Third hand smoke is the term being used to describe the invisible yet toxic residue produced from cigarette smoke that clings to the surrounding surfaces exposed to tobacco smoke. Infants are especially susceptible to this since they often put things in their mouths and end up ingesting the harmful chemicals. Even smokers themselves pose a threat, since they are the ones most exposed to tobacco smoke. Our own senses are already aware of this, when you are in the proximately of a person who has just smoked a cigarette you are able to smell the residue that remains. This same residue is a toxic soup of many compounds, at least eleven of which are know to be highly carcinogenic.
Now if “third hand” smoke is dangerous, “second hand” smoke is at the very least deadly. Governments throughout North America are taking steps to protect children by making it illegal to smoke in vehicles while a child is a passenger. Expanding this type of legislation into the homes of children would prove almost impossible. It remains up to the individual parents to recognize that their actions are threatening the health of their own children. With time, hopefully this message will get through.
From a fire safety point of view, smoking also poses a threat. Last week a 70 year old Cornwall man was killed when he fell asleep with a lit cigarette. Lying down with a lit cigarette is never a good idea and senior citizens are statistically the most likely to be injured in this manner. If you have a friend or family member who is senior and smokes, check their home. Look for burn marks in their furniture or clothing, if you find them this is a sign that this person could be in real danger of harming themselves and possibly others.