Background and aims Smoking is consuming the smoke of smouldering tobacco. Inhaling harmful substances from tobacco and a higher risk for disorders, is general knowledge. Less well known are the possible effects of second- and thirdhand smoke. Secondhand smoking is the involuntary inhalation of tobacco smoke in the ambient air. Inhaling the smoke residues from walls, furniture, clothes, toys and other objects or absorbing it through the skin is referred to as thirdhand smoking. The aim is to provide a scientifically based advice on dealing with this issue in a hospital setting.
Methods A literature-study is performed. A PICO (patient-intervention-comparison-outcome) question is formulated to guide a literature search in scientific databases. Articles will be critically appraised.
Results Four studies (two reviews, one cohort, one descriptive) were found all pointing out that exposure to second- and thirdhand smoking may adversely affect young children, especially in the age up to 1 year including preterm or otherwise respiratory compromised newborn infants in the NICU. Also addressed is the lack of knowledge of parents and staff on the consequences of second-and thirdhand smoke. Hospital staff has an opportunity to educate parents about the effects of smoking on their newborn baby. Additional steps as changing clothes and wearing gloves after smoking would be appropriate.
Conclusions Healthcare professionals should take their responsibilities in preventing harm to fragile newborn infants as a result of tobacco smoke more serious.