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Howard G. Smith, M.D. is a former radio medical editor and talk show host in the Boston Metro area.  His "Medical Minute" of health and wellness news and commentary was a regular weekday feature on WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM, and WMRE-AM.   His popular two-way talk show, Dr. Howard Smith OnCall, was regularly heard Sunday morning and middays on WBZ.

Trained at Harvard Medical School and a long-time faculty member at Boston Children’s Hospital, he practiced Pediatric Otolaryngology for 40 years in Boston, Southern California, and in central Connecticut.

If you have questions or suggestions about this content, please email the doctor at or leave him a message at 516-778-8864.  His website is:

Please note that the news, views, commentary, and opinions that Dr. Smith provides are for informational purposes only.  Any changes that you or members of your family contemplate making to lifestyle, diet, medications, or medical therapy should always be discussed beforehand with personal physicians who have been supervising your care.

Aug 9, 2019



We know all about the dangers of second-hand smoke, those clouds of toxic fumes emanating from cigarettes, cigars, and pipe bowls.  Now a study from the University of Cincinatti and the Cincinatti Children’s Hospital hone in on the vapors that waft up from those yellow stains on walls, ceilings, carpets, upholstery and, yes, the fingers of smokers themselves.  We call these third hand smoke.


The investigators measured the levels of nicotine on the hands of children exposed to these 3rd hand sources but not to parental smoking directly, and these children had the same levels of nicotine as an indirect measure of all toxic chemicals as those kids directly exposed to cigarette smoke.


Also know that these poisonous chemicals accumulate.  The children under 2 years had average hand nicotine levels of 69 ng, and that figure shot up 2.5 times by age 4 years.  The nicotine levels detected were a function of the number of cigarettes smoked by their parents and caregivers.  Even more disturbing was the finding that those with higher nicotine levels suffered from more respiratory symptoms including cough and wheezing.


Don’t smoke in your home even if your children aren’t present.  Better yet, kick the habit entirely if you love your kids.  If you have been smoking indoors, give your walls and furnishings a thorough cleaning in an honest attempt to exorcise cigarette nicotine and tars..


#thirdhandsmoke #secondhandsmoke #nicotine #tar #cigarettestain #health news


E Melinda Mahabee-Gittens, Ashley L Merianos, Eunha Hoh, Penelope JE Quintana, Georg E Matt. Nicotine on Children’s Hands: Limited Protection of Smoking Bans and Initial Clinical Findings. Tobacco Use Insights, 2019; 12: 1179173X1882349 DOI: 10.1177/1179173X18823493