Protect your kids from thirdhand smoke

EMBED </>More Videos

Ways to protect your children from "thirdhand" smoke. (KTRK)

Just because a cigarette isn't burning doesn't mean that the lingering effects can't still do harm to your children.

We all know the dangers of secondhand smoke. Even though you or your child aren't the ones smoking, the dangers from inhaling the smoke can lead to a number of health problems. But it's important to know that when the cigarette is out, the danger doesn't stop.

In a recent blog, Texas Children's Hospital Pediatric Pulmonologist Harold J. Farber, MD says things like walls, carpets, furniture and even clothing can absorb the harmful chemicals from cigarettes and then release them back into the environment. Those chemicals are referred to as "thirdhand" smoke.

Exposure to thirdhand smoke can add up to be enough to increase a person's risk of certain types of cancer. Sadly, it's young children who are at the highest risk of exposure. These little ones are crawling on the floor, held in people's arms and constantly putting things in their mouths.

"Probably the most important thing you can do is be sure that no one who lives in your home, or whose home your child spends time in, are smokers," said Dr. Farber.

RELATED: Drivers in some states could get fined for smoking with children in the car

The best protection for a child is to keep the smoking outside of the home. Dr. Farber recommends not smoking closer than 20 feet to a door or window and never smoking inside the home. This goes for cars, too.

"Smokers should change clothes after they come inside," said Dr. Farber. He went on to explain that the most effective way to prevent exposure from thirdhand smoke is for those who interact with young children to quit smoking.

There are resources to help you quit available now.

It's important to note that electronic forms of cigarettes do not eliminate the risk of thirdhand smoke. These devices, such as electronic cigarettes and vapes, also emit toxins that are absorbed by a number of surfaces, posing a risk to children.

Get help to quit smoking.

RELATED: Third-hand smoke from cigarettes is newest danger

Report a typo to the ABC13 staff

Related Topics:
healthsmokingraising healthy kidscigarettesHouston
(Copyright ©2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.)