Journal of Community Health

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 680–687 | Cite as

Third-Hand Smoke: Old Smoke, New Concerns

  • Lisa Acuff
  • Kasey Fristoe
  • Jacob Hamblen
  • Michelle Smith
  • Jiangang ChenEmail author


While the effects of active smoking and second-hand smoke (SHS) are well documented, the concept of third-hand smoke (THS) is a relatively new phenomenon in the environmental and public health field. This notion was coined in 2009 (Winickoff et al. in Pediatrics 123(1):e74–e79, 2009) but was not really brought to light until the New York Times published an article on the topic (Rabin in A new cigarette hazard: ‘third-hand smoke’. The New York Times,, 2009). Research on THS is fairly new and currently only limited animal studies have been performed that explore the health impacts associated with an individual THS-specific component. The public at large has a limited understanding of this new concept. As such, attitudes and beliefs surrounding THS exposure are still immature. Future research must be conducted to facilitate hazard identification, exposure and risk assessment to address its health impact on susceptible populations and to differentiate THS versus active smoking and SHS. In addition, policies and laws concerning tobacco smoke will need to be reviewed, possibly revised with the role of THS considered as an indispensable component of a broader tobacco control strategy.


Third-hand smoke Second-hand smoke Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) Susceptible populations Health policy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Acuff
    • 1
  • Kasey Fristoe
    • 2
  • Jacob Hamblen
    • 1
  • Michelle Smith
    • 1
  • Jiangang Chen
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Public HealthUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Social Work Office of Research and Public ServiceUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of NutritionUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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