Research Summary

I study the health effects of air pollution in human subjects. I focus on the chemistry and toxicity of smoke and on how exposure to tobacco or cannabis smoke can cause heart and lung disease. My analysis of tobacco industry research showed that sidestream cigarette smoke (the primary constituent of secondhand cigarette smoke) is more toxic than the smoke that smokers inhale and that secondhand smoke becomes more toxic as it ages.

My research on the chemistry and toxicity of cigarette smoke has helped define a new health risk from smoking: thirdhand cigarette smoke. Thirdhand smoke is the tiny droplets of oils and waxes (tar) that stick to surfaces, like walls, furniture, clothing and hair. Thirdhand smoke cannot be removed by ventilation. Many of the toxins and carcinogens in smoke linger for days, months and years after the cigarettes are gone. My laboratory is funded by the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program to study how humans absorb thirdhand smoke from the environment.

I am also studying the effects of cannabis use on air quality in public places and the chemistry and toxicity of cannabis product emissions like dab aerosol.

I am member of the California Thirdhand Smoke Consortium, the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. My goals are to understand how smoke causes heart attacks and respiratory disease and to educate society on the true impact that air pollution has on human health.

Research Funding

  • December 1, 2022 - November 30, 2025 - Melanin and Dermal Uptake of Thirdhand Cigarette Smoke , PI . Sponsor: California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, Sponsor Award ID: T32PT6041
  • July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2025 - Measuring Environmental Tobacco and Cannabis: Pollutants and Exposures , PI . Sponsor: California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, Sponsor Award ID: T32IR4867


University of Washington    B.S.    1986-1989    Cell and Molecular Biology
University of California, San Francisco    Ph.D.    1991-2001    Biomedical Science
University of California, San Francisco    Postdoc    2002-2006    Public Health
University of California, San Francisco    Postdoc    Feb 2006-Sept 2007    Inhalation Toxicology

Honors & Awards

  • 1991
    National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

Selected Publications

  1. Pratt K, Hilty A, Jacob P, Schick SF. Respiratory Exposure to Thirdhand Cigarette Smoke Increases Concentrations of Urinary Metabolites of Nicotine. Nicotine Tob Res. 2023 Jul 14; 25(8):1424-1430.  View on PubMed
  2. Matt GE, Greiner L, Record RA, Wipfli H, Long J, Dodder NG, Hoh E, Lopez Galvez N, Novotny TE, Quintana PJE, Destaillats H, Tang X, Snijders AM, Mao JH, Hang B, Schick S, Jacob P, Talbot P, Mahabee-Gittens EM, Merianos AL, Northrup TF, Gundel L, Benowitz NL. Policy-relevant differences between secondhand and thirdhand smoke: strengthening protections from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke pollutants. Tob Control. 2023 Jun 01.  View on PubMed
  3. Mohammadi L, Han DD, Xu F, Huang A, Derakhshandeh R, Rao P, Whitlatch A, Cheng J, Keith RJ, Hamburg NM, Ganz P, Hellman J, Schick SF, Springer ML. Chronic E-Cigarette Use Impairs Endothelial Function on the Physiological and Cellular Levels. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2022 Nov; 42(11):1333-1350.  View on PubMed
  4. Nabavizadeh P, Liu J, Rao P, Ibrahim S, Han DD, Derakhshandeh R, Qiu H, Wang X, Glantz SA, Schick SF, Springer ML. Impairment of Endothelial Function by Cigarette Smoke Is Not Caused by a Specific Smoke Constituent, but by Vagal Input From the Airway. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2022 Nov; 42(11):1324-1332.  View on PubMed
  5. Sakamaki-Ching S, Schick S, Grigorean G, Li J, Talbot P. Dermal thirdhand smoke exposure induces oxidative damage, initiates skin inflammatory markers, and adversely alters the human plasma proteome. EBioMedicine. 2022 Oct; 84:104256.  View on PubMed
  6. Tang X, Benowitz N, Gundel L, Hang B, Havel CM, Hoh E, Jacob Iii P, Mao JH, Martins-Green M, Matt GE, Quintana PJE, Russell ML, Sarker A, Schick SF, Snijders AM, Destaillats H. Thirdhand Exposures to Tobacco-Specific Nitrosamines through Inhalation, Dust Ingestion, Dermal Uptake, and Epidermal Chemistry. Environ Sci Technol. 2022 09 06; 56(17):12506-12516.  View on PubMed
  7. Huang AS, Murphy MBC, Jacob P, Schick SF. PM2.5 Concentrations in the Smoking Lounge of a Cannabis Store. Environ. Sci Technol Lett. 2022; 6(9):551-556.  View on PubMed
  8. He L, Wang P, Schick SF, Huang A, Jacob P, Yang X, Xia Y, Snijders AM, Mao JH, Chang H, Hang B. Genetic background influences the effect of thirdhand smoke exposure on anxiety and memory in Collaborative Cross mice. Sci Rep. 2021 06 24; 11(1):13285.  View on PubMed
  9. Murphy MB, Huang AS, Schick SF. PM2.5 Concentrations in a Cannabis Store with On-Site Consumption. Environ Health Perspect. 2021 06; 129(6):67701.  View on PubMed
  10. He L, Zhou YX, Zhang Y, Hang B, Chang H, Schick SF, Celniker SE, Xia Y, Snijders AM, Mao JH. Thirdhand cigarette smoke leads to age-dependent and persistent alterations in the cecal microbiome of mice. Microbiologyopen. 2021 06; 10(3):e1198.  View on PubMed
  11. Snijders AM, Zhou M, Whitehead TP, Fitch B, Pandey P, Hechmer A, Huang A, Schick SF, de Smith AJ, Olshen AB, Metayer C, Mao JH, Wiemels JL, Kogan SC. In utero and early-life exposure to thirdhand smoke causes profound changes to the immune system. Clin Sci (Lond). 2021 04 30; 135(8):1053-1063.  View on PubMed
  12. Pozuelos GL, Jacob P, Schick SF, Omaiye EE, Talbot P. Adhesion and Removal of Thirdhand Smoke from Indoor Fabrics: A Method for Rapid Assessment and Identification of Chemical Repositories. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 03 30; 18(7).  View on PubMed
  13. Sarker AH, Trego KS, Zhang W, Jacob P, Snijders AM, Mao JH, Schick SF, Cooper PK, Hang B. Thirdhand smoke exposure causes replication stress and impaired transcription in human lung cells. Environ Mol Mutagen. 2020 07; 61(6):635-646.  View on PubMed
  14. Whitlatch A, Schick S. Thirdhand Smoke at Philip Morris. Nicotine Tob Res. 2019 11 19; 21(12):1680-1688.  View on PubMed
  15. Xu EG, Richardot WH, Li S, Buruaem L, Wei HH, Dodder NG, Schick SF, Novotny T, Schlenk D, Gersberg RM, Hoh E. Assessing Toxicity and in Vitro Bioactivity of Smoked Cigarette Leachate Using Cell-Based Assays and Chemical Analysis. Chem Res Toxicol. 2019 08 19; 32(8):1670-1679.  View on PubMed
  16. Jaques, PA, Zalay, M, Huang, A, Jee, K, Schick, SF. . Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality & Climate, Philadelphia, PA, USA July 22 to 27, 2018. Measuring Aerosol Particle Emissions from Cannabis Vaporization and Dabbing. 2019.  View on PubMed
  17. Pozuelos GL, Kagda MS, Schick S, Girke T, Volz DC, Talbot P. Experimental Acute Exposure to Thirdhand Smoke and Changes in the Human Nasal Epithelial Transcriptome: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 06 05; 2(6):e196362.  View on PubMed
  18. Lee WH, Ong SG, Zhou Y, Tian L, Bae HR, Baker N, Whitlatch A, Mohammadi L, Guo H, Nadeau KC, Springer ML, Schick SF, Bhatnagar A, Wu JC. Modeling Cardiovascular Risks of E-Cigarettes With Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Endothelial Cells. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019 06 04; 73(21):2722-2737.  View on PubMed
  19. Conklin DJ, Schick S, Blaha MJ, Carll A, DeFilippis A, Ganz P, Hall ME, Hamburg N, O'Toole T, Reynolds L, Srivastava S, Bhatnagar A. Cardiovascular injury induced by tobacco products: assessment of risk factors and biomarkers of harm. A Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science compilation. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2019 04 01; 316(4):H801-H827.  View on PubMed
  20. Gotts JE, Chun L, Abbott J, Fang X, Takasaka N, Nishimura SL, Springer ML, Schick SF, Calfee CS, Matthay MA. Cigarette smoke exposure worsens acute lung injury in antibiotic-treated bacterial pneumonia in mice. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2018 07 01; 315(1):L25-L40.  View on PubMed

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