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Impacts of Thirdhand Smoke on Public Health

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Neal Benowitz, M.D.
Award Cycle: 2014 (Cycle 23) Grant #: 23PT-0013 Award: $2,474,154
Subject Area: Environmental Exposure/Toxicology
Award Type: Integrated Research Project

Initial Award Abstract

Thirdhand tobacco smoke (THS) refers to tobacco smoke residues in indoor environments that remain, react and/or re-emit from materials and/or re-suspend from surfaces (dust). THS is a new concept in the field of tobacco control and an advance in the field of toxicology. The concept of THS as a distinct entity that poses health risks for children and adults has emerged over the last decade. The long-term goals of the California Consortium on Thirdhand Smoke are to identify the health effects of exposure to THS, to develop environmental indicators and biomarkers of exposure to THS, and to devise and disseminate evidence-based policies to prevent and remediate such exposures. The California Consortium on Thirdhand Smoke includes researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of California’s campuses in San Francisco and Riverside, San Diego State University and the University of Southern California, all of whom have developed strong collaborative links since working together from the first phase of the Consortium in 2010.

The specific aims and objectives of the proposed research are to:

1. Chemically characterize THS in order to identify potentially hazardous or toxic constituents that may be present in THS.

2. Characterize relevant and specific biomarkers that could serve as diagnostic indicators of exposure and demonstrate quantitation of human exposure levels to THS.

3. Provide scientific evidence either for or against clear and significant health risks to humans as a result of exposure to THS.

4. Design an evidence-based approach to THS exposure risk policies, policy implications and issues.

5. Disseminate any evidence related to the health risks of THS to the California tobacco control stakeholders as well as to the general public, including any recommendations on potential approaches to risk elimination.