Do Air Purifiers Work for Secondhand Smoke?

By now, everyone knows about the dangers of smoking. Smoking can cause cancer, heart disease, strokes, lung diseases, diabetes, and COPD and increases the risk for tuberculosis, eye diseases, and immune system problems. But, smoking doesn’t only affect the smoker. Indoor smoke can have an adverse effect on home occupants, even after the smoker themselves has moved out.

Imagine you just snagged the perfect apartment in exactly the right location. It’s got extra large closets, an updated kitchen, and a huge bay window overlooking the park. There’s only one problem…. It smells like smoke.  No big deal, right? You can always just burn some scented candles or use an air freshener.

Unfortunately, while the odor of smoke can be unpleasant, the bigger issue is the harmful chemicals left behind by smoke. Studies have found that exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke results in higher rates of cancer, emphysema, asthma, and other health problems for people in the home.

And it isn’t just the humans that are affected. Smoke can also endanger your pet’s health. Studies show that dogs exposed to second-hand smoke have more eye infections, allergies, and respiratory issues, including lung cancer. Cats who live with secondhand smoke are about 2 times more likely to develop lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes that carries a poor prognosis for survival.

What Is Secondhand Smoke and Why Is It Harmful? 

According to the American Cancer Society, Secondhand smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke is broken down into 2 forms of smoke that come from smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products:

  • Mainstream smoke, or the smoke exhaled by the person who is smoking the tobacco product and
  • Sidestream smoke, or the smoke that comes from the lighted end of a cigarette or other burning tobacco. Sidestream smoke has higher concentrations of nicotine and cancer-causing agents, also called carcinogens, than mainstream smoke.

Even if you don’t smoke, when you breathe in secondhand smoke, you take in toxic chemicals the same way smokers do, breathing in lots of the higher levels of these harmful chemicals in your body.

Secondhand smoke is made up of more than 7,000 chemicals, including at least 70 that can cause cancer in the:

  • Lungs
  • Larynx (voice box)
  • Nasopharynx (the part of the throat behind the nose)
  • Nasal sinuses
  • Breast

Additionally, children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to have consistent health issues including: 

  • Getting sick more often
  • Have more lung infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Increased likeliness of asthmatic symptoms
  • Frequent ear infections

Besides the particles released from smoke, cigarettes and tobacco products also disperse a mixture of particles and chemicals (VOCs) that can cause serious health effects including lung disease, asthma, and lung irritation.

So, how can we get rid of the smoke?

Eliminate the source

First and most importantly, you should get rid of the source of the pollution. If you or someone who lives with you is currently a smoker, the best option is to quit. Consult your doctor about what treatments are available to help. If quitting isn’t an option, limit smoking to outdoor areas.

Open Windows

Keeping windows open is an excellent way to naturally reduce your home’s air pollution. Because outside air is typically less polluted than indoor air, opening windows will help purge the smoky air out of the house and replace it with fresh air from the great outdoors. 

It’s important to note that this form of passive ventilation will likely not completely remedy the problem. Residual chemicals and particulates may persist in the air and on surfaces even with cracking open a window while someone is smoking.

Increase ventilation 

Extensive research has determined that using a powerful ventilation system to draw the smoke out of the room is the most effective solution to keep the harmful chemicals out of your lungs. Placing a window fan outward is a good way to put this solution into motion, but sometimes, depending on the weather and other factors, it’s not always ideal.

This is where air purifiers come in handy

How Do Air Purifiers Work for Secondhand Smoke?

Air purifiers work by drawing in air from a room, passing it through a series of filters that will remove chemical pollutants and other particulates from smoke, and then releasing clean air back into the room. While these devices are known to help with allergens such as mold and pollen, air purifiers work for secondhand smoke as well.

Not only can an air purifier help to remove smoke odors from your home, but it can capture harmful particulate matter as well. 

Air purifiers typically use HEPA filters to remove secondhand smoke from a room. HEPA filters are capable of capturing a wide range of small particles. True HEPA filters are tested to ensure that they remove particles at 0.3 microns in size (the most difficult size to capture) 99.97% of the time. By comparison, smoke from cigarettes and other tobacco products range in size from 4 to 0.01 microns, making it the perfect size to be caught by the HEPA filter’s fibers. 

Once it is burned or exhaled, smoke will quickly become thin and its particles reduced in size, making it harder to trap; therefore, using an air purifier for cigarette smoke is the best way to fight against the chemicals and odors of smoking before they spread onto surfaces and throughout the air.

Air purifiers are a great way to prevent cigarette smoke from becoming harmful secondhand smoke that can hurt your family’s health.

What are the Best Air Purifiers For Getting Rid Of Smoke? 

There are many air purifiers on the market that specialize in removing smoke from any room or home, no matter the size. However, for the very best in protection from both the harmful particulate matter and chemicals released from cigarette smoke, look to aeris.

aeris air purifiers fight these pollutants at the source. Our purifiers have 3 to 5 times more filtration material than other air purifiers, making them the most effective way to capture smoke, odors, and VOCs.

For rooms up to 700sq feet, look to the aeris aair lite for general use. If your home requires more than just relief from cigarette smoke, then the aeris aair 3-in-1 Pro is a great option that eliminates smoke, odors, and gasses in rooms up to 1500 sq feet.

Clean air is a key component of overall health. Make sure you and your family are breathing the highest quality air by keeping smoke outside of the home, increasing ventilation, and using a high quality air purifier. 

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