Cigarette smoke smell

  • #1
Everyone's been in a house or motel room and smelled the residue of tar from cigarettes that stays in walls, carpet and ducts from previous smokers.
The important question is does it pose a hazard to health? How much, if at all, does the threat diminish with time?
 

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  • #2
NoTime
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No. Last report I saw says second hand smoke is not a hazard. Don't think the smell even qualifys as second hand smoke.

OTOH, The formaldehyde outgassing from the particle board furniture, the fungus growing in the ducts, whatnot from the carpet, and the lead paint on the walls...
 
  • #3
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I remember reading a lengthy report a few months back about the soil that certain tobacco was grown in. It seems certain brands grow their tobacco in soils containing radioactive elements and these can be transferred to the plant and therefore into the ciggarettes that you smoke. It also noted that the radioactive particles given off with the smoke can stay in the residue in homes etc if you smoke indoors. I think the report was pointing out that in excess the smoke build up in the house can give up radioactive elements but im unsure as to how severe they may be. The main element they referred to was polonium-147? i believe(number is most likely wrong sorry for that), just my addition to the post.
 
  • #4
Evo
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dansydney said:
I remember reading a lengthy report a few months back about the soil that certain tobacco was grown in. It seems certain brands grow their tobacco in soils containing radioactive elements and these can be transferred to the plant and therefore into the ciggarettes that you smoke. It also noted that the radioactive particles given off with the smoke can stay in the residue in homes etc if you smoke indoors. I think the report was pointing out that in excess the smoke build up in the house can give up radioactive elements but im unsure as to how severe they may be. The main element they referred to was polonium-147? i believe(number is most likely wrong sorry for that), just my addition to the post.
I found this citation "Lung cancer: is the increasing incidence due to radioactive polonium" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=3003925&dopt=Abstract

But oddly, this was another "Radon testing in households with a residential smoker--United States, 1993-1994." "This report summarizes the results of this analysis, which indicates that households with a residential smoker are significantly less likely to test for radon than those without smokers". Were the houses tested for radon prior to the smoker moving in? If not, what's the merit of such a study? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/..._uids=10484124&query_hl=3&itool=pubmed_docsum
 
  • #5
NoTime
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Evo said:
which indicates that households with a residential smoker are significantly less likely to test for radon than those without smokers".
:rofl: Obviously smokers can detect radon and avoid living in a radon filled house.

Hmmm
I read onetime that with the reduction of smokers, that lung cancer rates have gone down, while the overall cancer rate has gone up.

What's up with that?
Is smoking protective against cancer in general with the exception of lung cancer? :confused:
 
  • #6
russ_watters
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NoTime said:
No. Last report I saw says second hand smoke is not a hazard.
Actually, we now have the first direct evidence that SSS is a hazard, coming from businesses in cities that have recently gone smoke free. I read an article about it just a week ago: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=53873
Bar workers in Scotland showed significant improvements in respiratory symptoms and lung function within 2 months following a ban on smoking in confined public places, according to a study in the October 11 issue of JAMA.
NoTime said:
Don't think the smell even qualifys as second hand smoke.
No, I wouldn't think so. A lingering smell from a someone smoking in a room a few days ago would be very unlikely to be harmful.
 
  • #7
NoTime
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Aggravation of Asthma?

20 people out of 77 claimed an improvment in symtoms.

Why don't you cut down all the trees, bushes and flowers.
As well as get rid of all the smoke beltching power plants and cars while your at it.
 
  • #8
NoTime said:
:rofl: Obviously smokers can detect radon and avoid living in a radon filled house.

Hmmm
I read onetime that with the reduction of smokers, that lung cancer rates have gone down, while the overall cancer rate has gone up.

What's up with that?
Is smoking protective against cancer in general with the exception of lung cancer? :confused:

The population has risen in general so there will be higher rates of every disease. Now if you mean that the percentages have actually gone up, there are lots of things to account for that. The main one being the american diet has gotten worse and worse.
Fast food gets cheaper and cheaper (the dollar menu wars, lol!) and most people don't have or make the time to prepare healthy food (not freezer dinners and packaged stuff) at home.

One interesting thing to note is that there are naturally occuring carcinogens in produce such as apples! http://www.acsh.org/publications/pubID.103/pub_detail.asp" [Broken]

I guess it's the good elements in those foods that are counteracting all of the bad?
 
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  • #9
russ_watters said:
Actually, we now have the first direct evidence that SSS is a hazard, coming from businesses in cities that have recently gone smoke free.

Is the problem in the tar? Also, I wonder how long the sss has to linger to be harmful.
 
  • #10
NoTime
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chrisdimassi said:
Is the problem in the tar? Also, I wonder how long the sss has to linger to be harmful.
Look at the study.
There is no control group.
This would be important because other environmental concerns like general ozone levels or the reproductive cycles of various plants have great impacts on asthmatic symptoms.
Seems like it would be easy enough to find a control group either from nonsmoking resturant employees (a similar occupation) or since they claim there is no economic impact, then nonsmoking bars. Basic economic principals would say that if there is a demand then someone will provide the product.

Also the count of people with no symptom change plus the count of people who claimed improvement don't total to the number of participants.

Did the remaining people show worse symptoms?
Convienently ignored because that wouldn't support their hypothesis?

Frankly, studies of the placebo effect say the should have gotten better numbers than they show.

AFAIK there is no statistically significant connection between sss and health issues.
 
  • #11
Ouabache
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For those who are affected by allergens in cigarette smoke (I am a member of that population), residual smoke does pose a health problem.
 
  • #12
NoTime
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Peanuts will kill people that are allergic to them.

If your allergic to tobacco smoke then chances are that your allergic to wood stoves and fireplaces, since the byproducts are almost identical.

So do you think they should make fireplaces and peanuts illegal?
 
  • #13
russ_watters
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No Time, you are not arguing logically. Whether or not you want to ban peanuts, the fact of the matter is that some people are allergic to them (as you say). The two question simply don't have to be related. And whether or not you want to ban cigarettes, the fact of the matter again is that they are harmful. Same thing again - and the OP was asking about whether it is harmful, not whether or not you think it should be made illegal.
 
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  • #14
NoTime
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russ_watters said:
No Time, you are not arguing logically. Whether or not you want to ban peanuts, the fact of the matter is that some people are allergic to them (as you say). The two question simply don't have to be related. And whether or not you want to ban cigarettes, the fact of the matter again is that they are harmful. Same thing again - and the OP was asking about whether it is harmful, not whether or not you think it should be made illegal.
What argument?
I was asking Ouabache his opinion related to his particular problem.
 
  • #15
Indeed I did not not mention second hand smoke, Russ. There's no doubt that second hand smoke is dangerous (cancer, emphysema, asthma) by degree of amount and length of exposure.
So that wasn't my question.
No Time, you sound like someone trying out for a leading role in the movie, "Thank you for Smoking".

Anyway, I asked about the residue from the cigarettes...
If anyone knows what makes up the residue that is left behind (on walls and in ducts) and whether or how unhealthy it is.
 
  • #16
NoTime
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Both my parents smoke so I have an interest in looking at the data.

I managed to find a link on the web.
Since they do provide links to the actual reports you can read them yourself.
Seems to me that Unable to find an exposure response curve is a fairly consistant finding.
With a relative risk around 1, dosn't look like much going on.
They nicely provide a key of what the numbers mean at the bottom of the page.

http://193.78.190.200/smokersclub/studies.html
 
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  • #17
If you live in the house, then you definitely have no choice but to breathe second hand smoke. However, the risk is minimized the further you are from the smoker and the shorter the duration (number of years). Unless you live with them for the next 30 years, there probably won't be enough signficant damage for you to get emphysema or lung cancer. Especially if you aren't asthmatic, never smoke and don't become a firefighter.
I don't understand why parents don't just smoke outside.
 
  • #18
Ouabache
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NoTime said:
...If your allergic to tobacco smoke then chances are that your allergic to wood stoves and fireplaces, since the byproducts are almost identical.
So do you think they should make fireplaces and peanuts illegal?

In aggreement with Russ, the OP "appears" to be asking whether the residual smell from cigarettes, poses a health hazard.
I don't believe Russ was arguing with you. Argument is a term commonly used in the study of valid inference or logic.

My physiology does react to the residual gases, with an debilitating allergic reaction (a heath risk). In answer to your other question; no I don't think they should make fireplaces and peanuts illegal.

chrisdimassi said:
post #1
Everyone's been in a house or motel room and smelled the residue of tar from cigarettes that stays in walls, carpet and ducts from previous smokers.
The important question is does it pose a hazard to health? How much, if at all, does the threat diminish with time?

post #15
Indeed I did not not mention second hand smoke, Russ. There's no doubt that second hand smoke is dangerous (cancer, emphysema, asthma) by degree of amount and length of exposure. So that wasn't my question.
Anyway, I asked about the residue from the cigarettes...
If anyone knows what makes up the residue that is left behind (on walls and in ducts) and whether or how unhealthy it is.

Chris, Your original question led me to believe your post referred to the "smell of the residue". The residue left behind from tobacco smoke is not just a substance left on the wall, it includes the gasses absorbed by the walls, wood, carpet, mattress, pillows, window shades, curtains, etcs. That absorbed residue outgasses back into the air of the room and poses a health risk as we discussed.

I don't know the compositon of the discolored substance left on walls. Perhaps the chemists on our forum may have a better handle on that. It probably contains at least, carbon and tar.
 
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  • #19
NoTime
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chrisdimassi said:
I don't understand why parents don't just smoke outside.
For one, I haven't seen any scientific evidence that there is any particular harm in it.
Lots of religion though.
The insurance companies dock you 5 years on your potential life expectancy, if you smoke.
If you don't have the genetic allele that makes you prone to emphysema, I doubt that any of this is any concern.
I wouldn't mind seeing some numbers on this, but there is a lot of complaints about using genetic data for insurance purposes.

I don't see any reason to gripe at them.

My younger sister would agree with you.

PS: I read a report last year that said being 10lbs overweight had the health risk equivilent to smoking a pack of cigaretts a day.
Something to think about.
 
  • #20
NoTime
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Ouabache said:
My physiology does react to the residual gases, with an debilitating allergic reaction (a heath risk). In answer to your other question; no I don't think they should make fireplaces and peanuts illegal.
Are you allergic to fireplaces?

Seems to me that burning a C14 plant is burning a C14 plant.
With the exception of the nicotine there doesn't seem to be anything particuarly unique about the plant.

Just curiosity.
 
  • #21
Moonbear
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NoTime, you're arguing nonsense. There is no difference between first hand smoke and second hand smoke...it's all smoke coming from the same cigarette. And yes, there IS a difference between smoke from burning wood and smoke from a cigarette, and that's the nicotine content. Tar is also an additive to cigarettes. It is NOT healthy to inhale smoke from ANY source, so I don't know where you're trying to go with any argument that it would be safe.

I hardly would expect a site called "Smoker's Club" to provide an unbiased review of literature on the subject.

Just a handful of the articles that do show harmful effects of second-hand smoke:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/..._uids=17027075&query_hl=2&itool=pubmed_docsum

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/..._uids=17035147&query_hl=2&itool=pubmed_docsum

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/..._uids=17000575&query_hl=2&itool=pubmed_DocSum

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/..._uids=17000095&query_hl=2&itool=pubmed_DocSum

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/..._uids=16948348&query_hl=2&itool=pubmed_DocSum

As to the original question of whether the residues left in a hotel room are harmful, I don't know how harmful, and it would likely depend on how long ago the room had been occupied by smokers and what components of the residue are remaining when you get there. I only found one old study that might even begin to address the question:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...t_uids=434927&query_hl=14&itool=pubmed_DocSum

I think so much focus has been on the smoke itself that little attention is given to the surface residue in a room that someone was smoking in, and what continues to linger in the air from that residue (if you can smell it, something is airborne). I can only offer that there might be something coming along in the near future that addresses the effects of residue clinging to smokers on their children based on some brief discussions with people who are working in that area (i.e., with parents who smoke, but claim to always step outside and smoke away from their children, but would still have the residues clinging to their body and clothing). Those studies aren't complete and aren't published, so I won't discuss any more details than that because I don't know whether it will turn out to have an effect or not. Or, perhaps it doesn't and that's why there is little in the literature on it.
 
  • #22
Chris, Your original question led me to believe your post referred to the "smell of the residue". The residue left behind from tobacco smoke is not just a substance left on the wall, it includes the gasses absorbed by the walls, wood, carpet, mattress, pillows, window shades, curtains, etcs. That absorbed residue outgasses back into the air of the room and poses a health risk as we discussed.

I don't know the compositon of the discolored substance left on walls. Perhaps the chemists on our forum may have a better handle on that. It probably contains at least, carbon and tar.[/QUOTE]


The composition is what's puzzling me. There is an asthmatic in the household and the smell causes a burning sensation in the mucoid membranes. It's made me wonder just what is left behind and the effects.
Generally, when there is smell, there is substance. Have you ever "tasted" rubbing alcohol when dressing a wound? That's because the fumes literally are the rubbing alcohol and you are literally tasting it!
I don't know to what extent this applies with cigarette residue but you folks who have allergies certainly know that something isn't good with teh stuff.
Outgassed residue from walls and carpet is making me think "formaldehyde". Indeed some very nasty stuff!
Ionizers and hepa filters have not done much to help her situation.
 
  • #23
NoTime said:
For one, I haven't seen any scientific evidence that there is any particular harm in it.
Lots of religion though.
The insurance companies dock you 5 years on your potential life expectancy, if you smoke.
If you don't have the genetic allele that makes you prone to emphysema, I doubt that any of this is any concern.
I wouldn't mind seeing some numbers on this, but there is a lot of complaints about using genetic data for insurance purposes.

I don't see any reason to gripe at them.

My younger sister would agree with you.

PS: I read a report last year that said being 10lbs overweight had the health risk equivilent to smoking a pack of cigaretts a day.
Something to think about.


Your parents really should be griped at for smoking in the house. They have a choice, you don't.
It might never affect you, the effects probably depend upon how much exposure over how much length of time, in addition to genetic factors.

Being overweight is a big problem for the health. However, there is no lung damage left behind from being overweight. Once weight is lost, the after-affects seem to mostly be cosmetic.
A doctor will be quicker to ask "have you ever smoked" than "have you ever been overweight". Insurance companies know their stuff. They are unbiased because their bottom line is profit.
We could start picketing them for being sexist (insurance for young females is cheaper than for young males). As cold and uncaring as they are, they don't have any agenda, they simply look at statistics to make those kinds of decisions. Young males get in more/worse wrecks than young females.

I hope that you do not grow up to be a smoker. I've known 3 people with emphysema who were long-time smokers.
One rolled his wheelchair outside and put a gun to his head because he was tired of suffering. His wife was in the house at the time.
The other two suffered horribly (not sure if either are still alive) with wheezing that sounded as bad or worse than any case of asthma I've ever heard.
 
  • #24
Ouabache
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NoTime said:
Are you allergic to fireplaces?

Seems to me that burning a C14 plant is burning a C14 plant.
With the exception of the nicotine there doesn't seem to be anything particuarly unique about the plant.

Just curiosity.
I'm allergic to the fungal saprophytes that colonize the tobacco as it cures in the drying barns.

Your guess about firewood is partially true, however I'm not allergic to the wood but to the fungi that colonize the wood as they season. In both cases, I'm inhaling fungal allergens that become airborne when burned. I don't have an allergic reaction to smoke from unseasoned firewood.
 
  • #25
Speaking of wood, pine and cedar are irritating to most asthmatics. A few articles reference the production of enzymes in the liver of animals exposed to them, also!
If you have caged critters (ferrets or rabbits/other rodents), avoid cedar and pine wood shavings.
http://www.bio.davidson.edu/Courses/anphys/1999/Cook/Text.htm#EFFECTS%20OF%20SOFTWOODS%20ON [Broken]

Incidentally, bugs tend to avoid cedar and pine oils.
Citronella is something that also aggravates many asthmatics and since bugs tend to avoid that too, I wonder what a study on citronella might reveal.
 
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