A Spanish study has found that nicotine levels in infants’ hair are three times higher than those who have slept elsewhere. The nicotine is from cigarette smoke particles that impregnate the parents’ skin, clothes and hair which is known as “third hand” smoke Spanish researchers have explained.
The investigators analysed hair samples from 252 babies younger than 18 months and interviewed their parents about their smoking habits. 73% of the parents said they smoked or allowed smoking in their homes, in 83% of the babies’ hair samples showed high levels of nicotine.
The study also found that cigarette smoke toxins are still present in homes even when parents try to take action to protect their children’s health, such as smoking by a window, ventilating bedrooms after smoking, or smoking when the baby is in a different room.
Passive smoking is the leading preventable cause of child hood death in developed countries and toxins from tobacco smoke that remain on surfaces has a negative impact on infant lung development, US researchers have said.
Liam Moloney, healthcare Solicitor in Naas, Co. Kildare, said today, “Third hand smoke is a stealth toxin because it lingers on the surfaces in homes, hotel rooms and cars used by smokers where children, elderly and other vulnerable people may be exposed without realising the dangers. Pregnant women should also avoid homes and other places where third hand smoke is likely to be found to protect their unborn children against the potential damage these toxins can cause to developing children”