The Best Air Purifier for Smoke

2020 data from the CDC tells us that roughly 12.5% of US adults (18+) smoked. This translates to more than 30 million people. Maybe you’re a smoker or you live with one, and you want to do something about the smoky smell that seems to have permanently taken up residence in your home. Or perhaps you live in an area with a lot of wildfires. Let’s talk about the best air purifier for smoke, what sort of technology it should have, and how it works to purify the air you breathe.

What Do Cigarettes Release into the Air?

Before we get into air purifiers, let’s talk about how exactly cigarettes damage the air you breathe. First, let’s talk about particulate matter. Particulate matter contains microscopic droplets of solids and liquids. They’re so small that you can easily inhale them, which can lead to serious health issues. This is the problem with tobacco smoke: It releases particulate matter into the air. This smoke contains nicotine, carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas that affects your oxygen, blood, heart, and lungs), tar (a carcinogen that can lead to lung disease), and other toxic chemicals — like benzene, arsenic, and formaldehyde. 

You might not think that a little cigarette can be that harmful. On the contrary, some research says that the pollution that cigarettes emit is 10 times greater than diesel car exhaust.


Man smoking a cigarette at home


It’s a similar story with wildfire smoke. It releases fine particles into the air that can easily penetrate your lungs.

What Happens When We Inhale Smoke?

You don’t have to sit in a smoky room for hours to feel the effects. Even in a short period of time, you might notice irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, and even nausea.

More prolonged exposure to smoke can make it harder for your lungs to work properly, which means it’s difficult to breathe. The carbon monoxide in the smoke decreases your body’s supply of oxygen. This can lead to headaches, angina (a heart condition), and reduced alertness. It can even trigger asthma and heart disease.

The outcome is equally grim when we’re talking about secondhand smoke specifically. Second smoke can immediately hurt your heart and blood vessels, causing an increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke and even leading to death.

Can You Use an Air Purifier for Smoke?

Yes! Regardless of the type of smoke that you’re dealing with — cigarette smoke, cooking smoke, wildfire smoke, etc. — an air purifier can help improve the quality of your indoor air. Using an air purifier for cigarette smoke helps to filter out those teeny, tiny particles that you can’t see so that the air you’re breathing is safer and purer. Here’s how the technology behind Sans does it.


Wildfire smoke outside


Step 1: The Pre-filter

Capturing the biggest pollutants first is important. This allows the upcoming layers to do a better job. Thus, the pre-filter is the first line of defense and filters out things like hair and dust.

Step 2: HEPA 13 Filter

medical-grade HEPA 13 filter catches particles you can’t even see. Consider that the average human hair is about 90 microns thick. A HEPA 13 filter traps 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns and 99.95% of particles as small as 0.1 microns. In other words, it’s powerful.

This is where the bulk of the work is done. You can expect a HEPA 13 filter to catch various pollutants, dust, and dander.

Step 3: Activated Carbon Filter

While the first two layers have a big job to do in terms of catching solid pollutants, an activated carbon filter plays a big role when it comes to using an air purifier for smoke because it focuses on pollutants that are in gas form. It also helps to eliminate any nasty odors lingering in the air, including smoke!

Will an Air Purifier for Smoke Eliminate *All* Smoke in Your Home?

Great question! This depends on the size of your home and the coverage that the air purifier provides. Sans, for example, offers coverage of 1,560 square feet. We suggest you put it in the smokiest area of your home. It’ll tell you when you need to change the filter so that it can continue running optimally. We always suggest using an air purifier that has a replaceable filter, instead of a washable one. While the latter might seem more economic, it also means that you have to physically handle a filter that has trapped dangerous and harmful particles. So, you’re exposing yourself to them! Also, they’re incredibly difficult to really clean.


Keep Smoke Out of Your Home in the First Place

Using an air purifier for cigarette smoke will definitely help. Even better is stopping it at the source, when possible. It might be a given, but one of the best things you can do is stop smoke from entering your home, to begin with. If you’re a smoker (or you live with one), this is an activity best done outside. Do it as far away from the home as possible, and keep the windows and doors closed while you do so.

If you notice a lot of smoke when you cook with oil, opt for an oil with a higher smoke point, like avocado or canola oil. You should also take care to clean up any drips or spills on your pots, pans, stovetop, and oven after you’re done cooking. This residue typically has a higher grease content, so the next time you cook, it’s likelier to start smoking.

If you live near wildfires, the best thing you can do is keep your windows and doors closed and open them as little as possible. Keep in mind that the smoke from wildfires can travel thousands of miles. If you’re not sure what the air quality is like where you live, check it out on California, Texas, and North Carolina are some of the states with the most wildfires, so if you live near them, you should check in with AirNow especially during wildfire season to see if your area has been impacted. 

While you can’t really control the quality of the air outside, using an air purifier for smoke in your home can significantly improve the air you breathe. Shop with Sans — the best air purifier for smoke — today and protect your health from harmful particles floating in the air.