Is it possible to get rid of the cigarette smell?

The below article talks about getting rid of cigarette smells, the methods that could be used, along with some frequently asked questions about cigarette smoking and its effects. 

Is it possible to get rid of the cigarette smell?

There are many possible methods to remove the smell of cigarettes such as rubbing down surfaces with white vinegar, washing upholsteries, etc. Smoking is injurious to health, third-hand smoke, when the cigarette smoke and its odor sticks to you can have serious impacts on health as well. The below article will talk about how you can get rid of cigarette smells from your environment. 

Cigarette Smoke 

Long after hundreds of studies have shown that smoking is injurious to health, millions of individuals around the world continue smoking, to the point where it has been recognized as one of the largest contributors to cancers and other respiratory diseases. At the very core of a cigarette, it’s the tobacco that is being burnt and it produces certain emissions which are composed of several chemicals including carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and nitrogen oxides. Further studies have found that cigarette smoke can also contain volatile organic compounds including formaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, and certain N-nitrosamines. Other particles emitted could include nicotine, phenol, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and certain tobacco-specific nitrosamines (Rosenfeld J., 2019). 

Lingering cigarette smoke is unhealthy just as much as it is smelly. Cigarette odor is capable of clinging to everything in its environment from your skin, clothes, furniture, to your hair, and even your room in the larger sense. The lingering cigarette smell on surrounding items also called thirdhand smoke has been found to cause health conditions including cancers, sudden infant death syndrome, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (Whelan C., 2019). Cigarette smoke affects the insides and outsides of our bodies, as when cigarettes are lit, it leaves a fine film of carcinogens on its environment. While this may not be visible, it is considered as particulate matter and could have devastating impacts on health. 

Nicotine is absorbed into the body through a person’s skin and respiratory system, this affects the individuals’ sweat glands and makes the individuals sweat more. Since it affects the sweat glands, it is quite often that there is a change in the smell of your sweat. Cigarette smoke coats us completely when we are in its vicinity, therefore the below steps mentioned could help to strip the smell of cigarette smells around you. 

Stripping cigarette smells

  • Stay away from smokers and smoking rooms to avoid exposure to cigarette smoke.
  • If you’re a smoker, stop smoking! 
  • Try to cover as much skin as possible when you are in the vicinity of cigarette smoke.
  • Wash your hands or take a shower to get rid of cigarette smells 
  • Using an alcohol-based sanitizer could remove any odor that is clung to exposed skin
  • If you can smell cigarette smoke odor in your hair, it is best to rinse your hair with shampoo and condition it to protect your hair. 
  • Using dry shampoo could help reduce cigarette odor
  • Rub a dryer sheet all over yourself if you happen to be exposed to cigarette smoke, as dryer sheets are capable of absorbing odor molecules. Ensure to rub it between any layers of clothing you may have. 
  • If there is a cigarette smell on your breath, try having hard candies, lozenges, cough drops, breath mints, gums, etc., and if none of it works brush your teeth and use a mouthwash. 
  • Cigarette odor from clothes can be removed if it is washed with detergent coupled with a cup of baking soda. This can be repeated as many times as needed to completely remove the odor. 
  • It is best to air dry any clothes that may have cigarette odor in them, dryers could enhance the smell into the fabric. 
  • Using dryer sheets for your clothes could remove the preliminary odor and save you in a pinch.
  • Spray your clothes with an air freshener for fabrics or an antiperspirant to remove cigarette smells. This could be overpowering and requires users to completely spray all their clothing items to remove the odor.
  • While essential oils do not absorb cigarette smells, it is capable of masking them. Using lavender, orange, grapefruit, eucalyptus, etc. oils could be beneficial to masking cigarette smells. However, be careful to not add or dab essential oils into bare skin. 

Stripping cigarette smells from enclosed spaces 

Cigarette smells can build up, and stay in enclosed spaces for months after a cigarette has been lit. It can be very hard to get rid of the smell and could cause long-term damage to health. Below are some tips to consider if you’re experiencing difficulties with removing cigarette smells from your room:

  • Ensure proper ventilation systems are set in place and that it is periodically evaluated and maintained for effective ventilation of the smoke. 
  • Before painting your walls, try to clean the walls using a heavy-duty cleaner that is designed to strip away any unwanted odors or contaminants from the walls. Using a primer with an odor sealant following the cleaning could also help to remove any existing odors and prevent particles from lodging into the wall and permeating the smell across the room. 
  • Rip away or remove any soft items including rugs, carpets, sofas, etc. and get them cleaned or replaced. 
  • Varnish wood floors to avoid smelly contaminants lodging into the wood and creating odors
  • Cleaning tiled surfaces with a solution of bleach and water, or vinegar and water. 
  • Clean out the filters of your air purifiers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, HVAC systems, air conditioners, etc. 
  • Avoid leaving cigarette butts in enclosed spaces
  • Car seats, carpets, rugs, etc. can be washed using a solution fo water and bleach, water and hydrogen peroxide, or water and white vinegar, atleast once a week. 
  • Keep adsorbers in your enclosed spaces to capture any unwanted smell, such as open containers of charcoal, white vinegar, etc. 
  • Mask the smell using incense burners, essential oil diffusers, etc. 
  • Storing items in airtight spaces could prevent them from acquiring cigarette smells.
  • A professional ozone treatment, if none of the above steps work.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to get rid of cigarette smells?

Which air purifiers could be used to clean out contaminants from cigarette smoke?

Product nameWhy is it recommended
SilverOnyx Air PurifierBest for large enclosed spaces: under construction or otherwise5 stage air cleaningA filter cartridge with a mesh pre-filter to trap the larger particlesTrue HEPA H13 Filter that captures 99.97% of contaminants UV light to kill mold, virus, and bacteriaActivated carbon filterAn ionizer that strips out toxic airborne particles and helps extend the life of other filters while freshening the airCylindrical shape of the device provides 60% more efficiency than other devicesGives an alert when the filter needs to be changedFilters can be cleaned or replacedA timer that can be set for up to 24 hoursCovers up to 500 sq. feet 
Molekule Air PurifierDifferent sizes and types are available to cover rooms from 250 sq. feet to 1000 sq. feetWi-Fi enabled 2 year limited warrantyExtremely powerful in terms of destroying pollutants at a molecular levelEliminates all traces of pollutants with up to 99.99% efficiency360° Air intake Air flows through the outer filters to trap larger particlesInner filters destroys the smaller particles at its core using PECO technology; which is capable of removing contaminants 1000x smaller than what could be removed using a standard HEPA filterNanocatalyst coated filters will react to light to destroy the contaminants, to produce purified, clean, and fresh air No ozone byproducts Captures contaminants, oxidizes them, and breaks them down to destroy them Molekule Air Mini has found to remove 99.99% of COVID-19 virus in the air, within one hourMolekule Air Pro removes the same and other proxy viruses which could travel via water droplets within 30 minutes
MINUSA2 Ultraquiet Air Purifier from RabbitAir 6 Stage FilterationPre-stage filter to trap dust mites, larger contaminants, pollen, pet hair, etc. Medium filter to trap bacteria, dander, dust particles, mold, fungi, pollen, etc.BIOGS HEPA filter is more efficient than the traditional HEPA filter as it reduces the probability of mold or virus growing on the filter and prolongs the filter’s efficiency; BIOGS HEPA filter is more efficient in reducing fumes and particles that carry disease-causing viruses Ability to customize filters to meet specific needs including germ defense, pet allergens, odor remover, toxin stripping, etc. Activated Carbon Filter made of granular activated carbonNegative ions that latch onto smaller air-borne contaminants, so that they would be weighed down and trapped into the filters5-year warrantyCovers up to 815 sq. feetWi-Fi enabledSpecialized app services Wall- mountable Multiple customizable options

What is the difference between secondhand smoke and thirdhand smoke?

Secondhand smoke refers to when you’re physically present in the vicinity of cigarette smoke, and you’re exposed to it. This is also called secondhand smoking. Thirdhand smoke refers to when smoke particles cling onto the environment and continue to emit toxic pollutants into the air, causing several health impacts. Thirdhand smoke could come from smoke particles that cling onto your skin, hair, clothes, furniture, upholsteries, carpets, rugs, walls, etc. Both, secondhand and thirdhand smoke has devastating impacts on health. 

References 

Rosenfeld J. (2019, November 15). What absorbs cigarette smoke: ways to get rid of it indoors. Molekule blog. Viewed on 01-30-2022. https://molekule.science/what-absorbs-cigarette-smoke-ways-to-get-rid-of-it-indoors/ 

Whelan C. (2019, August 14). How to remove cigarette smell from you, your clothes, your car, and home. Healthline. Viewed on 01-30-2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-get-rid-of-cigarette-smell-in-house 

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