Third-hand smoke a threat to Queensland kids

New research shows third-hand smoke which clings to furniture, carpets, walls and children’s toys could cause cancer, endangering the future health of Queensland children.

This World No Tobacco Day (May 31), Cancer Council is warning Queenslander’s of the severe dangers of third-hand smoke, which occurs when second-hand smoke reacts with indoor air, lingering in homes.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said exposure to third-hand smoke was a proven threat to human health.

“Research shows third-hand smoke is widespread in indoor environments affected by second-hand smoke, leaving Queensland families with potentially huge health risks,” Ms Clift said.

“Chemicals from second-hand smoke stick to curtains, dust, clothing, toys and floors – and can remain in a home as third-hand smoke on surfaces for months after active smoking occurs.

“Babies and toddlers are at high risk from crawling, putting hands and toys into their mouths and potentially swallowing or inhaling compounds from third-hand smoke.

“Third-hand smoke can be found in cars, units and homes – anywhere that smoking takes place in an enclosed space, and can even stick to the hair and skin of smokers.

“Making your home totally smoke-free is the only way to protect your family from the harmful effects of second and third-hand tobacco smoke.

“Research shows many of the more than 4,000 chemicals in second-hand smoke linger long after cigarettes are put out, sticking to surfaces and damaging human DNA in a way that can potentially cause cancer.

Ms Clift said the research also reinforced the need for the State Government to fast-track new laws creating designated smoke free public spaces across the state – to encourage more smokers to quit and save Queensland lives.

“Smoke free spaces will encourage more smokers to quit, further protecting people from the harmful effects of smoking at home and in public places, and prevent more young people from taking up the lethal habit,” Ms Clift said.

“We urgently need statewide smoke free places at bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, and pedestrian malls.

“We have also urged the Health Minister to introduce a total ban on smoking in cars.”

It’s estimated around 3000 Queenslanders will die from a tobacco-related disease each year. About 300 of these deaths are caused by second-hand smoke exposure.

Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848), or join the QUEST to quit at

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.