How bad is second hand smoke

Third-Hand Smoke: Smoking clothes pollute the air like passive smoking

Even in well-ventilated interiors, significant amounts of harmful chemicals accumulate from cigarette smoke. This is the result of a measurement by scientists from Yale University and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz. Drew Gentner's team installed measuring devices in a cinema in the Rhineland-Palatinate state capital, which recorded the air quality during operation.

The researchers are now publishing their results in the journal "Science Advances". Anyone who watches a film in this cinema, which has been banned from smoking for 15 years and which has good ventilation, inhales the equivalent of one to ten cigarettes of passive smoke. The Yale researcher and his colleagues also discovered harmful substances such as benzene and formaldehyde in the room air.

The researchers conclude that these substances were brought with them by visitors from the fact that the concentration of the substances they were looking for suddenly increased every time the hall filled, and then slowly decreased again. There was also a difference between cinemas showing children's films and those showing films for adults. In the latter, the load was on average noticeably higher.

In analogy to "second-hand smoke", passive smoking, the phenomenon is also referred to as "third-hand smoke". A ban on smoking in the immediate vicinity of a restaurant or a meeting place does not help against third-hand smoke. Even if the smokers among the audience were not allowed to smoke in the cinema or in the foyer, they still dragged the smoke into the interior - the substances stick to skin, hair and clothing, from where they outgas over time.

It is the reason why smokers would smell of smoke, said Peter DeCarlo of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who was not involved in the study, the magazine Science: “You don't smell the chemicals that are on the skin of the person be liable. You can smell those that go off. "