As if the documented dangers of primary and secondhand smoke aren’t enough to sway people from the habit, now comes research suggesting that even thirdhand smoke – defined by the Mayo Clinic as “residual nicotine and other chemicals left on a variety of indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke” can be harmful.

A recent study funded by the University of California-run Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program adds to a growing of research implicating thirdhand smoke as a viable health hazard. The latest research supports the contention that even after smoke has left a room or other area occupied by a smoker, the toxic pollutants inherent in cigarette smoke remain – on everything from bedsheets, carpets and clothing to furniture and even walls. Not only do these hazardous compounds stay in the area for months, but they could combine with other commonly used household chemicals / products to create even greater health risks.

Thus, in a sense thirdhand smoke may be more problematic over the long term than primary or secondhand smoke because of its ability to linger. You can always quit smoking, but the impact of thirdhand smoke may persist. Again according to the Mayo Clinic, “Thirdhand smoke residue builds up on surfaces over time and resists normal cleaning. Thirdhand smoke can’t be eliminated by airing out rooms, opening windows, using fans or air conditioners, or confining smoking to only certain areas of a home. Thirdhand smoke remains long after smoking has stopped.”

If you’re pursuing health and wellness through proper diet, consistent exercise and stress reduction, but remain a smoker, now’s the time to do something about it. And if you know someone who smokes, keep in mind that anything you do to help them quit won’t just help them; it will improve the lives of those around them – including you!