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Third-hand smoke presents real dangers

Updated: December 26, 2012 4:00PM

Q. My husband smokes and, although he never does it around the kids, the smell lingers in the car and on his clothes. How can I convince him that leftover smoke smell matters?

A. You’re right about what we call third-hand smoke (THS). Firsthand smoke is inhaled into the lungs. Secondhand smoke clouds the air and is inhaled by everyone else. And then, after the smoke clears, there’s residue left on clothes, carpets, floors and upholstery. That’s THS. It’s toxic, and some carcinogens include hydrogen cyanide, butane, toluene, arsenic, lead, carbon monoxide and polonium 210.

Your kids are especially susceptible to THS toxins if they’re crawling over floors, carpets or upholstery.

So, the goal is to help your husband quit smoking —­ for his and the health of the family. The most effective programs offer a combination of a nicotine withdrawal system, a workout plan (exercise makes quitting a lot easier), support groups, and friends and family who understand how tough it is.

Q. Do I really need to do extreme workouts to get in good shape? Those infomercials on TV make it seem that only gut-busting, joint-slamming calisthenics do the job.

A. Ever since Jack LaLanne first broadcast his fitness show and Jane Fonda videos urged us to “feel the burn,” fitness crazes have swept acrossthe United States. The names of today’s popular routines say it all: Insanity; Hip Hop Abs Extreme; TurboFire.

We, on the other hand, advocate a much easier-to-stick-to approach to physical activity: walking (and if you are ready after a month of daily walking and cardio, moderate weight lifting). Walking can be easygoing or intense; it’s something everyone knows how to do, and all you need is a good pair of walking shoes.

How does our 10,000 steps a day stack up to those extreme workouts in terms of improved health? We think it comes out light years ahead, and here’s why:

† The psychological benefits: Drop-out rates in intense programs are extremely high, and that builds discouragement. Establishing a daily walking routine fuels self-esteem.

† The aches-and-pains-conquering benefits: Stretching out your stride, keeping your posture erect and your upper-body motion fluid loosens up stiff joints, muscles and tendons.

† The muscle-building benefits: Walking builds, tones and shapes muscles in your legs and butt.

† The weight-loss benefits: Walking is a longer-duration, lower-intensity exercise that can burn more fat than a short, intense workout.

† The cardiovascular benefits: You’ll reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. And for you folks who already have high blood pressure or heart disease, it’s a safe way to improve your cardio system.

King Featuress

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