The term third-hand smoking (THS) describes contaminants left at the smoking area on surfaces and in the surrounding dust after tobacco is smoked.
The accumulation of smoke from burning cigarettes can remain on surfaces such as clothing, hair, furniture, and automobiles indefinitely, causing harm to both smokers and non-smokers.
A team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside found that acute skin exposure to third-hand smoking increased biomarkers associated with skin conditions such as contact dermatitis and psoriasis.
“We found that human skin exposure to third-hand smoking triggers inflammatory skin disease mechanisms and increases urinary biomarkers of damage,” said Shin Sakamaki Cheng, a former UC Riverside graduate student with a Ph.D. in cellular medicine. , Molecular and Developmental Biology in March 2022. “Oxidizing agents that can lead to other diseases such as cancer, heart disease and atherosclerosis. It is alarming that the acute third-hand effects of smoking on the skin mimic the harmful effects of cigarette smoking.”
The study, published in the journal eBioMedicine, is the first of its kind to be conducted on people exposed to third-hand smoking (THS) on their skin.
In a clinical study conducted at the University of California at San Francisco, 10 healthy non-smokers aged 22 to 45 took part.
For three hours, each participant wore clothing soaked with smoking residue and each walked or ran on a treadmill for at least 15 minutes every hour to induce sweating and increase absorption of the “third hand of smoking” through the skin.
The participants were unaware that the clothes contained the “third hand of smoking”. The team then collected blood and urine samples from the participants at regular intervals to determine protein changes and signs of oxidative stress caused by the third hand of smoking.
The participants in the comparison group were dressed in clean clothes.
“We found that acute third-hand exposure to smoking caused elevated biomarkers of oxidative damage to DNA, lipids and proteins in the urine, and these biomarkers remained elevated after exposure was stopped,” said Sakamaki Cheng, a research scientist at Kite Pharma in California who is leading the study. stem cell team.
“Cigarette smokers see the same increase in these biomarkers. Our findings may help clinicians diagnose patients with third-hand smoking exposure and help develop regulatory policies regarding the treatment of third-hand smoke-contaminated rooms.”
Pro Talbot, a cell biology professor with whom Sakamaki Ching worked with in his lab, explained that the skin is the largest organ associated with smoking’s third hand (THS) and therefore may be the most affected.
Talbot, co-author of the paper, said: “There is a general lack of knowledge about the human health response to third-hand exposure to smoking. If you buy a used car that was formerly owned by a smoker, you are exposing yourself to some health risks. And if you go to a smoking casino, you are exposing your skin to third-party tobacco smoke.” The same goes for staying in a hotel room where there used to be a smoker.”
The third-hand exposure to ten participants was relatively short and did not cause visible skin changes. However, blood molecular biomarkers associated with early activation of contact dermatitis, psoriasis, and other skin diseases were elevated.
“This supports the idea that third-hand skin exposure to smoking can lead to molecular initiation of inflammation-driven skin disease,” Cheng said.
The team now plans to evaluate e-cigarette residues that can come into contact with human skin. They also plan to evaluate more people exposed to long periods of third-hand skin smoking.
Source: Medical Express