Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and mirrors…it’s not just a magician’s trick!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Cigarettes have a NEW magic trick – THIRD hand smoke! Harmful tobacco pollutants are dirtying up counters and clothes alike! Yet those surfaces were never NEXT to the smoke. How do those pollutants get around? 

Drew Getner and his research team from Yale and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry wondered. They sampled air in a well-ventilated, non-smoking movie theater for four days. 

Results? Emissions of THIRTY-FIVE cigarette-related compounds peaked when audiences entered auditoriums. Levels reflected up to TEN cigarettes worth of secondhand smoke! WHERE is it coming from? 

Hitch-hiking on smokers AND on people exposed to secondhand smoke! The pollutants settle into cozy theater chairs after the show’s over. When the next person sits down — Up they go, recontaminating the air!  

This less hazy understanding of smoking effects could improve public health efforts. 

Just like with magicians… always keep your eye on EVERY hand.