Can Air Purifiers Help with Cigarette Smoke?

Wondering whether air purifiers can help with cigarette smoke?

This might seem like a logical conclusion since the name ‘air purifier’ gives a false sense of its functional capabilities. You’d expect it to suck out everything in your room leaving just Nitrogen and Oxygen, wouldn’t you? Actually, it’s just Oxygen for some people with extraordinary expectations, but anyway…

Understanding How Air Purifiers and Air Filters Work

Well, to know the answer you need to educate yourself about cigarette smoke and air filters. Let’s start with cigarette smoke since that’s the one causing all this trouble. A cigarette is a dense and compact roll of highly intoxicating substances like nicotine, often accompanied by compounds that release tar, arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, cadmium, acrolein, polycyclic hydrocarbons, acetaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen-oxides and some carcinogenic metal. Reasons for your ‘friend’ to kick that ‘butt’!

Most of these by products are present in the form of gaseous and particulate matter in that smoke. The size of these by products in their particular forms is so minute that it has to be measured in microns.

How Effective are Air Purifiers?

Moving on to air purifiers. Commercially available air purifiers are not quite equipped to detoxify the air and make everything green again. The best that they can do is block allergens, dust and stuff flying around from your pets if any. And in most cases, it is sufficient as well. This way, the manufacturers are able to keep costs down as well and the volumes up.

So if you expect these run of the mill, mechanical air purifiers to get rid of all those pollutants in cigarette smoke, you are definitely going to be disappointed.

So? Is there hope?


You see, the manufacturers know about this little niggle. And they have tried to introduce higher end models that are effective at a certain level. So if you are okay with parting ways with a lot more dough, you can get one of these higher end models. What’s different about them? True HEPA filters and Activated Carbon Filters.

Getting Better Air in Your Home

The good news is that True HEPA filters can trap most particles of size 0.3 microns and larger. This includes that visible smoke! And Activated Carbon filters extract the organic compounds or molecules that contain carbon rings, like benzene and the -aldehydes in that list of cigarette by products and reduce the odor as well.

So these filters can get rid of most of the detrimental things in your room with a smoker around. The downside is that they are a lot more expensive and they are not quite up there yet in terms of trapping every single byproduct in cigarette smoke, due to a number of chemicals involved. The filters would need a lot more technology and some chemicals of its own to react with the compounds of that smoke to absorb them completely.

Still, the air purifiers with True HEPA filters and Activated Carbon Filters can do most of the heavy lifting for now. So, to answer the question, air purifiers can certainly help with cigarette smoke, but only a select few.

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