When a smoker smokes a cigarette, the smoke and substances from the cigarette settle on his clothing. Even if he smokes outside or away from family members, when he goes inside and rejoins his family, they are still exposed to the cigarette he just smoked. For children and those who suffer from allergies or asthma, this has serious implications.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Cigarettes and Link to Allergies
Secondhand smoke carried on your clothing can cause small children to develop ear infections, asthma and other lung conditions. If you have just smoked a cigarette and you are around someone who already suffers from allergies or asthma, the smoke that remains on your clothing exacerbates her condition, possibly triggering an asthma attack. If you have been smoking outside, trying to keep the noxious chemicals in cigarettes away from family members, they are still exposed to those chemicals.
San Diego State University Study
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention carried out a study in conjunction with researchers from San Diego State University. This study looked at 49 households divided into three groups. Each family had a child under 1 year of age. The first group was a non-smoking control group. The second group was an indirect exposure group and the third was a direct exposure group. During the study, researchers measured the amounts of nicotine in the homes of participants – on the furniture, dust and air. Nicotine from smoking mothers’ fingers was also measured. Hair and urine samples were taken from each infant.
Researchers found much higher levels of nicotine in the indirect- and direct-exposure homes than in the no-exposure group. Researchers also found that nicotine levels in the living rooms and bedrooms of the direct-exposure families were much higher than they were for families of the indirect-exposure group. Nicotine and continine levels in the hair and urine of infants in direct-exposure families were much higher than infants in the indirect exposure group. Continine is a byproduct of nicotine broken down by the body. Nicotine measurements on the mothers’ fingers in both indirect- and direct-exposure families were similar.
Researchers concluded that parents in the indirect-exposure families still brought cigarette smoke and nicotine into their homes, exposing their babies to the harmful effects.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention carried out a study in conjunction with researchers from San Diego State University.
- Nicotine measurements on the mothers’ fingers in both indirect- and direct-exposure families were similar.
Upper Airway Problems
Cigarettes can cause several upper airway disorders in non-smokers who are exposed to the smoke. These include:
- sore throat
- ear infections
- asthma attacks
When non-smokers already have a lung condition or allergies, they feel the effects more strongly. Children are more likely to suffer these conditions when they are exposed to smoke from the clothing of smokers, according to The University of Arizona 2.
Tobacco and Allergies
The Effects of Nicotine on Newborns
Allergies are a result of the immune system’s reaction to a substance that normally does not cause a strong reaction. The immune system produces antibodies on the first exposure to an allergen. While the person doesn’t experience an allergic reaction on first exposure, when he is exposed again, the antibodies his immune system produced attack the substance – cigarette smoke – leading to an allergy attack. The symptoms of the allergy attack include sneezing, watery eyes, stuffy nose and itchiness. If the person suffers from asthma, he may suffer an asthma attack. Those who already suffer from allergies suffer allergic reactions, including asthma attacks, when they are exposed to cigarette smoke on a smoker’s clothing.
- Allergies are a result of the immune system’s reaction to a substance that normally does not cause a strong reaction.
- While the person doesn’t experience an allergic reaction on first exposure, when he is exposed again, the antibodies his immune system produced attack the substance – cigarette smoke – leading to an allergy attack.
How to Recover From Hernia Surgery
The Effects of Nicotine on Newborns
The Effects of Nicotine on the Cardiovascular System
The Symptoms of Allergies to Cigarettes
Does Smoking Cigarettes Stunt Growth?
Symptoms of Babies Born to Fathers with Addictions
Causes of a Rash on the Hands of a Child
The Effects of Smoking on Your Respiratory System
Negative Effects of Cigarette Smoke or Second-Hand Smoke
Disadvantages of Smoking
- University of Washington: Nicotine, Secondhand Smoke and Infants; March 2004
- The University of Arizona: Respiratory System Disorders
- Valentine G, Sofuoglu M. Cognitive Effects of Nicotine: Recent Progress. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2018;16(4):403-414. doi:10.2174/1570159X15666171103152136
- Tweed JO, Hsia SH, Lutfy K, Friedman TC. The endocrine effects of nicotine and cigarette smoke. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2012;23(7):334-42. doi:10.1016/j.tem.2012.03.006
- Mayer B. How much nicotine kills a human? Tracing back the generally accepted lethal dose to dubious self-experiments in the nineteenth century. Arch Toxicol. 2014;88(1):5-7. doi:10.1007/s00204-013-1127-0
- Bassett RA, Osterhoudt K, Brabazon T. Nicotine poisoning in an infant. N Engl J Med. 2014;370(23):2249-50. doi:10.1056/NEJMc1403843
- Nicotine Keeps Leaf-Loving Herbivores at Bay. PLoS Biol. 2004;2(8):e250. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020250
- Jacob P, Benowitz NL, Destaillats H, et al. Thirdhand Smoke: New Evidence, Challenges, and Future Directions. Chem Res Toxicol. 2017;30(1):270-294. doi:10.1021/acs.chemrestox.6b00343
- University at Buffalo. Men Who Smoke Heavily May Impair Sperm, Fertility. Published October 17, 2005.
- Wickström R. Effects of nicotine during pregnancy: human and experimental evidence. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2007;5(3):213-22. doi:10.2174/157015907781695955
- Yoshiyama S, Chen Z, Okagaki T, et al. Nicotine exposure alters human vascular smooth muscle cell phenotype from a contractile to a synthetic type. Atherosclerosis. 2014;237(2):464-70. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.10.019
- Kim BS, Kim SJ, Kim HJ, et al. Effects of nicotine on proliferation and osteoblast differentiation in human alveolar bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Life Sci. 2012;90(3-4):109-15. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2011.10.019
- Zeidler R, Albermann K, Lang S. Nicotine and apoptosis. Apoptosis. 2007;12(11):1927-43. doi:10.1007/s10495-007-0102-8
- Steelman T, Lewandowski L, Helgeson M, Wilson K, Olsen C, Gwinn D. Population-based Risk Factors for the Development of Degenerative Disk Disease. Clin Spine Surg. 2018;31(8):E409-E412. doi:10.1097/BSD.0000000000000682
- Korfei M. The underestimated danger of E-cigarettes - also in the absence of nicotine. Respir Res. 2018;19(1):159. doi:10.1186/s12931-018-0870-4
- International Programme on Chemical Safety. Nicotine.
- Monell Chemical Senses Center. Nicotine in Breast Milk Disrupts Infant's Sleep Patterns. September 4, 2007.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drug Facts: Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products. Updated May 2016.
- National Institutes of Health. Effects of Nicotine During Pregnancy: Human and Experimental Evidence. September 5, 2007.
- Wiley Online Library. Measurements of Dermal Uptake of Nicotine Directly from Air and Clothing. September 29, 2016.
Genevieve Van Wyden began writing in 2007. She has written for “Tu Revista Latina” and owns three blogs. She has worked as a CPS social worker, gaining experience in the mental-health system. Van Wyden earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New Mexico State University in 2006.