by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

In studying the health effects of cigarette smoke, there’s smoking itself, secondhand or environmental tobacco smoke, and third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke is the residue that secondhand smoke leaves on surfaces such as furniture or clothing. You are exposed to third-hand smoke when you rent a car in which someone has been smoking, or are assigned a hotel room in which previous occupants have smoked.

Many if not most non-smokers find the smell of third-hand smoke unpleasant. And as with secondhand smoke exposure, third-hand smoke exposure has now been shown to convey hazardous chemicals.

Our noise colleague John Drinkwater coined the phrase “Secondhand Sound is the new Secondhand Smoke.™️” In an article about a new definition of noise, I used his insight, pointing out that unwanted noise is like secondhand tobacco smoke, both a nuisance and a health hazard.

We’re lucky that as of now acoustic scientists haven’t found third-hand sound!

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