Using an air purifier to protect your lungs from cigarette smoke
Some of us may remember the days when smoking in indoor spaces was commonplace: cafes, pubs, restaurants, and hotel rooms were all places where people could smoke. People were even allowed to smoke in airplanes! In fact, evidence shows that humans have been using tobacco plants for 12,300 years!2 It may have taken us a while, but we now fully understand the dangers of smoking and how it can affect the non-smokers around us. If you are a smoker or someone who lives with or near a smoker, it is important to understand that not only the smoke itself can cause negative health effects, but lingering smoke (also known as thirdhand smoke) is also dangerous to our health.
Below we will review the dangers of living with cigarette smoke and how an air purifier can help protect you and your loved ones.
The dangers of thirdhand smoke
According to the Cleveland Clinic, thirdhand smoke is a newly-defined term that is used to refer to the residue that settles and remains on surfaces long after a cigarette is put out1. This residue consists of nicotine and other harmful substances that are released into the air while smoking, and it can remain on clothes, carpets, walls, and other surfaces – including our skin! Not only is this residue that has settled in the home extremely difficult to remove since it cannot be removed using typical cleaning (vacuuming) or aeration (fans) methods, but it can last on surfaces for days, months, or even years. Some people simply resort to replacing carpets or repainting their walls to rid their homes of thirdhand smoke which can be costly.
While research is still in the preliminary stages, studies show that the consequences of thirdhand smoke are just as serious as the consequences of firsthand and secondhand smoke. Some risks may include lung cancer and damage to human DNA, both of which are long-term and potentially fatal. Furthermore, when smoking in a room or car, nicotine released into the air from cigarette smoke can form carcinogenic substances when it reacts with nitrous acid, also known as HONO1. HONO is commonly found in polluted environments.
How can we protect ourselves?
Naturally, the best way to avoid firsthand, secondhand, and thirdhand smoke is to stop smoking! However, your second line of defence is to equip yourself with an air purifier.
It is important to note that not just any air purifier will do the trick. Particles in tobacco and marijuana smoke are usually between 0.3-0.5 μm in size, and tobacco smoke usually contains dangerous nanoparticles down to a size of 0.1 μm4. The only filters available that assure filtration of particles of this size are HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters. Any filter capable of filtering at least 99.97% of particles of a size greater than or equal to a diameter of 0.01 µm in a single pass receives this designation. It is a term defined by European standards EN 1822 and EN ISO 29463 in 2009. All Eoleaf air purification products contain HEPA filters.
The 0.3 µm barrier
You may have seen articles claiming that HEPA filters are ineffective against the smaller, particularly dangerous nanoparticles of 0.1 μm found in tobacco smoke. The 0.3 µm barrier was established as a benchmark for HEPA filters because particles of this size are notoriously the most difficult to filter. HEPA filters still filter particles down to a size of 0.01 µm, and a 2016 study by NASA showed that these filters are very effective at filtering a wide variety of nanoparticles in addition to particles of 0.3 µm or larger as promised. Furthermore, nanoparticles of this size tend to have a random movement pattern, meaning that the likelihood of coming in contact with one of the filter’s fibres is high3. Read more about HEPA filters here.
Other air purifier requirements to tackle tobacco smoke in the home
In addition to your HEPA filter, your future air purifier should contain an activated carbon filter. One of the most common filtration methods in the industrial world, activated carbon is extremely effective at binding itself to a variety of pollutants including ozone, benzene, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). It is also a very powerful method to fight bad odours which is certainly useful when trying to remove smoke odours from your home!
Finally, purchasing an air purifier with a powerful fan will help eliminate smoke suspended in the air as well as smoke residue remaining on surfaces. Our air purifiers come equipped with several speed levels and an automatic mode, allowing your device to detect the presence of smoke and to automatically increase its speed as needed to rid your home of harmful particles quickly and efficiently.
We are happy to assist you in your efforts to achieve a smoke-free home. See our product range of high-quality air purifiers here to find the device that best suits your needs.
1 Cleveland Clinic. (2021, December 29). The dangers of thirdhand smoke. Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials. Retrieved November 11, 2022, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/thirdhand-smoke/
2 BBC. (2021, October 12). Humans used tobacco 12,300 years ago, New Discovery suggests. BBC News. Retrieved March 1, 2023, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-58884119
3 Barnes, C. (2021, October 26). Do air purifiers filter and kill viruses and bacteria? CHOICE. Retrieved November 8, 2022, from https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/cooling/air-purifiers/articles/do-air-purifiers-trap-viruses-and-other-germs
4 How to choose the best air purifiers for removing tobacco smoke. BreathingSpace.co.uk. (2022). Retrieved November 11, 2022, from https://www.breathingspace.co.uk/how-to-choose-the-best-air-purifiers-for-removing-tobacco-smoke-i97