If you’ve ever been in an enclosed space with cigarette smokers, you’ve probably noticed the lingering scent of smoke stuck to your clothes. And last year, scientists set out to document that phenomenon, in a study published in the journal Indoor Air . (Oh yes, that get its own journal.) To find out how much nicotine can be absorbed by clothing and skin after cigarette exposure, six male researchers, all of whom were nonsmokers, sat in a room filled with tobacco smoke (from a machine, not a human) for 5 hours. The room’s nicotine air concentration created exposure levels similar to those found in British pubs that allow smoking. Four of the researchers wore only shorts, while the other two wore clean clothes. In a second session a week later, two participants wore their clothes that had previously been exposed to nicotine, while the two bare-chested men showered immediately after the experience. Although scientists had thought that skin provides a good barrier against nicotine, the study found that nonsmokers’ skin can absorb nicotine from cigarette smoke at a level similar to that found when inhaling it through the lungs. This nicotine takes several days to be released from the body, the researchers found. Showering after being in a smoke-filled room or quickly changing into clean clothes can reduce the amount of nicotine that seeps into the skin.