The first Report of the Surgeon General was published in 1964 and 20 million Americans have died as a result of smoking since then. Nicotine is the main constituent of tobacco products and a known carcinogen. Many of the physiological effects of nicotine is linked to its ability to bind to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors throughout the body. A number of cancers and diseases are linked to nicotine, which may also be exacerbated by nicotine’s metastatic and angiogenic abilities. Maternal smoking during pregnancy allows for nicotine to collect in amniotic fluid and fetal serum. Prenatal exposure to nicotine may cause withdrawal in newborns and has also been linked to premature delivery, an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and conduct disorder. It has been reported that second hand smoke is profoundly more toxic than directly inhaled first hand smoke. Over 4,000 chemicals comprise second hand smoke and 81 carcinogens have been detected in mainstream cigarette smoke. Third hand smoke consists of the gases and tobacco smoke residues that have been left behind after a cigarette has been smoked. Third hand smoke is present in walls, carpets, furniture, and dust within smoker’s homes and poses a significant concern for children’s health. Third hand smoke introduces a number of additional carcinogens into an indoor environment which may be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or ingested. The public should be educated and made aware of the additional dangers third hand smoke poses to human health.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-2016


Lindsay E. Calderon

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Biological Sciences