First-Ever Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center Opens at SDSU

Contact Information

Georg E. Matt, PhD
Professor of Psychology
San Diego State University
Director, Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center

Heather L. Wipfli, PhD
Associate Professor of Clinical Preventive Medicine and International Relations
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California
Associate Director, Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center

Rachael Record, PhD
Associate Professor of Communication
School of Communication
San Diego State University
Associate Director, Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center

Lydia Greiner, DrPH, APRN
San Diego State University Research Foundation
Center Coordinator, Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center is Open at SDSU

Have you ever arrived late at a hotel, been given a smoking room, and woken up with a
headache? Have you ever been nauseated by the stale tobacco odor in your Uber or Lyft car?
Have you ever wondered why you were offered such a good deal on that apartment with the
yellowish walls and the unpleasant odor? Now you have a place to go to find information!
On May 1, researchers at San Diego State University and the University of Southern California
will open the first resource center in the U.S. dedicated to educating the public about the lasting
impact of tobacco smoke pollutants that remain in homes, cars, businesses, hotels, or casinos
long after cigarettes have been extinguished. These toxic residues are called ‘thirdhand smoke’.
The Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center will offer educational materials, workshops, and
webinars for health professionals, health advocates, policy makers, apartment and hotel managers,
car dealers, other businesses, and the general public. Center researchers will also develop do-it-
yourself test kits for measuring thirdhand smoke and will work with businesses, community groups,
and interested individuals to test for thirdhand smoke pollution. The Center is located at San Diego
State University, but all resources are available on the Center website at

Tobacco smoke leaves behind a toxic residue that can be noticed as an unpleasant odor or a
yellow-brown stain on walls or on the fingers of smokers. But this lingering tobacco residue is
more than just a stain and a bad smell. This residue contains a mixture of toxic chemicals,
including several known to cause cancer and asthma. When tobacco, electronic cigarettes, or
marijuana are used in a home or car, particles and vapors stick to surfaces, accumulate in dust,
and become embedded in carpets, furniture, walls, clothes, cabinets, blankets, toys, or pillows.
After repeated smoking or vaping, an indoor environment can become highly contaminated with
thirdhand smoke residue that can persist for years. From these thirdhand smoke reservoirs,
chemicals and particles can be released back in the air, and nonsmokers may be exposed to
them through breathing air, touching materials, and ingesting objects that have become
contaminated. These chemicals can affect respiratory and cardiovascular health and may
reduce the body’s ability to heal and fight infection. They may also affect your wallet because
the smell, stains, and toxic chemicals lower the resale value of cars and real estate.
The Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center is part of the California Thirdhand Smoke Research
Consortium ( and
funded by the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program ( In response
to mounting scientific evidence the composition, persistence, and health risks of THS exposure,
TRDRP has supported the California Consortium on Thirdhand Smoke and Human Health
Effects since 2011. The consortium is a multi-institutional and interdisciplinary effort, involving
research groups from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, San Diego State University,
University of California Riverside, University of California San Francisco, and University of
Southern California.

The Center website at has launch on May 1, 2019. The Center can be
reached via e-mail at or telephone 619-594-3018.

Follow us on Facebook @ThirdhandSmokeResourceCenter, Instagram @thsresources, or
Twitter @thsresources.

SDSU Newscenter Article link below:


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