DALLAS, March 16, 2014 Leftover cigarette smoke that clings to walls and furniture is a smelly nuisance, but now research suggests that it could pose a far more serious threat, especially to young children who put toys and other smoke-affected items into their mouths. Scientists reported today that one compound from this "third-hand smoke," which forms when second-hand smoke reacts with indoor air, damages DNA and sticks to it in a way that could potentially cause cancer.
Their talk was one of more than 10,000 presentations at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, taking place here through Thursday.
Bo Hang, Ph.D., who presented the research, said that although the idea of third-hand smoke made its debut in research circles just a few years ago in 2009, evidence already strongly suggests it could threaten human health.
"The best argument for instituting a ban on smoking indoors is actually third-hand smoke," said Hang, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).
Researchers have found that many of the more than 4,000 compounds in second-hand smoke, which wafts through the air as a cigarette is smoked, can linger indoors long after a cigarette is stubbed out. Based on studies led by Hugo Destaillats, Ph.D., also at LBNL, these substances can go on to react with indoor pollutants such as ozone and nitrous acid, creating brand-new compounds, some of which may be carcinogenic.
One of those compounds goes by the acronym NNA. Hang's research has shown that NNA, a tobacco-specific nitrosamine, locks onto DNA to form a bulky adduct (a piece of DNA bound to a cancer-causing chemical), as well as other adducts, in lab test tubes. Other large compounds that attach to DNA tend to cause genetic mutations. NNA also breaks the DNA about as often as a related compound called NNK, which is a well-studied byproduct of nicotine and a
|Contact: Michael Bernstein
214-853-8005 (Dallas Press Center, March 14-19)
Contact: Katie Cottingham, Ph.D. 214-853-8005 (Dallas Press Center, March 14-19) 301-775-8455 firstname.lastname@example.org