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Thirdhand Smoke Dissemination, Outreach, and Resource Center

Institution: San Diego State University Research Foundation
Investigator(s): Georg Matt, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 28) Grant #: 28PT-0078 Award: $1,632,625
Subject Area: Environmental Exposure/Toxicology
Award Type: Integrated Research Project

Initial Award Abstract
Thirdhand smoke (THS) refers to the residue that is left behind in dust and on surfaces (such as furniture, carpet, and walls) long after someone smoked tobacco in an enclosed space. THS is made up of a mixture of hundreds of toxic chemical that have been found to be harmful to humans. Over the past 15 years, researchers from the California THS Research Consortium and elsewhere have found THS in many different indoor spaces where tobacco had been used. This includes apartments, homes, cars, hotels, casinos, and hospitals. THS has been detected years after cigarettes had been smoked regularly in a home. Thus, it is important to raise awareness about the long-term consequences of smoking indoors and how it may affect nonsmokers. This project will inform Californians about where THS can found, how one can get exposed to it, who is at risk of harmful effects, and how to prevent THS. This includes making people aware that renting or buying a home where people smoked could lead to chronic THS exposure, helping people test their homes for THS, and encouraging everybody to put into action strong smoking bans. The goal of this project is to increase public awareness among California residents, communities, tobacco control groups (such as American Lung Association), health professional (such as health departments, pediatricians), and relevant business owners (such as apartment managers, real estate agents, rental car agencies, hotel managers). To achieve this goal, we will establish a THS Resource Center to connect the THS researchers and the community. This will include a website to share THS information and outcomes from Consortium supported research with California residents, communities, tobacco groups, and business owners (Aim 1). To increase awareness among California residents, we will post educational messages on Facebook and study how well they help people become more aware of THS (Aim 2). We will share what we know about THS with community groups, health professional, and relevant business owners through a series of online workshops, and evaluate how well the workshops help to inform groups about THS risk (Aim 3). Finally, we will work with community groups, health professional, and relevant business owners on creating THS policies and collecting samples from homes and business to measure THS. This will be done to help people and organizations understand how widespread THS pollution is, what can be done to prevent THS from building up, and what options are available for cleaning up THS after it has become firmly embedded (Aim 4). By increasing awareness of THS pollution and exposure risks, this project will help reduce tobacco use in indoor spaces, create a better understanding about why enforcing tobacco-free policies is important, and expand tobacco-free policies to places that currently do not have them. This project has the potential to lead to indoor spaces that are 100% free of toxic tobacco smoke and to encourage people not to smoke.