The difficult problem of poor indoor air quality looms big in the modern day. The use of tobacco products in enclosed spaces is a major contributor to air pollution. You probably know the long-lasting olfactory insult and the possible health risks associated with indoor smoking if you or someone you know is a smoker. Here we investigate the question at length: Does an air purifier help with cigarette smoke? Let’s dive into the research behind air purifiers, how well they work to reduce secondhand smoking, and some frequently asked questions to clear the air once and for all.

Clearing the Air: Understanding Air Purifiers

It’s important to understand what air purifiers are and how they work before diving into the specific subject of whether air purifiers can combat cigarette smoke.

What Is an Air Purifier? 

An air purifier is a machine that filters the air in a room or building to get rid of harmful substances. Dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and, most significantly, cigarette smoke are all examples of potential pollutants. Clean air is recirculated into the room after being sucked through an air purifier and filtered out of harmful particles.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

The following filtration processes are frequently used in air purifiers:

  • HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters: These filters are efficient at capturing smoke particles, including those from cigarettes, with a size as small as 0.3 microns.
  • Activated Carbon Filters: These filters are excellent at removing cigarette smoke and other gaseous odors.
  • Ionic Filters: They give off negatively charged ions, which bind to smoke particles and make them simpler for the filter to collect.
  • UV-C Light: Cigarette smoke is less affected by UV-C light, which is used by some air purifiers to eliminate bacteria and viruses.

Now that we’ve covered the groundwork for air purification systems, we can get into the meat of the matter. Does an air purifier help with cigarette smoke?  To answer your question in a nutshell: air purifiers can reduce secondhand smoke, albeit how much they improve air quality is conditional on a number of variables.

Factors Affecting Air Purifier Effectiveness against Cigarette Smoke

Air Purifier on Office Desk with Glass Wall and Outdoor View

Indoor cigarette smoke is infamous for its persistence and the pain and health risks it poses to those who are exposed to it. The answer to the question “Does an air purifier help with cigarette smoke?” is yes. The answer is yes, however the efficiency with which an air purifier can eliminate secondhand smoking depends on a number of factors. Let’s look into these variables, giving you the tools you need to make a calculated choice.

Air Purifier Type

The efficacy of an air purifier in the elimination of cigarette smoke is significantly contingent upon the specific model that is selected. Certain air purifiers have superior efficacy in eliminating smoke odors and particle matter when compared to others. The prevailing air purifiers commonly seen in the market, together with their efficacy in mitigating the presence of cigarette smoke, can be delineated as follows. 

Air Purifier TypeDescriptionEffectiveness against Cigarette Smoke
HEPA FilterSmall smoke particles are easily captured by High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. They are particularly efficient at eliminating smoke and odors when used in conjunction with an activated carbon filter.High
Activated Carbon FilterThe odorous chemicals and VOCs in cigarette smoke are easily absorbed by activated carbon filters. When combined with a HEPA filter, they create an effective system for clearing the air of smoke.High
IonizersIonizers work by releasing charged particles into the air, which smoke particles are attracted to and clump together, making them easier to collect. While they may be useful, they have the potential to generate dangerous levels of ozone.Moderate
Ozone GeneratorsThe molecules of ozone that are released by ozone generators react with the smoke particles and scents in the air, reducing both. Human health risks from ozone exposure mean that their use requires vigilance.Moderate
Electronic Air CleanersElectric charges in these air cleaners attract and hold smoke particles. While useful, they do need routine upkeep to function properly.Moderate

Air purifiers featuring both HEPA and activated carbon filters are recommended for the most effective elimination of cigarette smoke.

Room Size

The effectiveness of an air purifier is greatly influenced by the room’s dimensions. The square footage or square meters to which an air purifier is rated varies. If you want your air purifier to be effective in removing smoke from a room, you need take the size of the space into account. Overkill can occur when utilizing a big-capacity air purifier in a small room, whereas insufficient smoke removal can occur when using a small-capacity purifier in a large room.

Air Changes per Hour (ACH)

How many times in an hour an air purifier can filter the full volume of air in a room is measured in Air Changes per Hour (ACH). A higher ACH is required for efficient elimination of cigarette smoke. The following formula is used to determine ACH:

ACH Calculation Formula


If you smoke heavily, you should opt for an air purifier with a high ACH rating. These air cleaners can quickly cycle and filter the air, decreasing the amount of smoke in the environment.

Smoking Habits

The efficiency of an air purifier against cigarette smoke is significantly impacted by the smoking patterns of persons in your family. It can be harder for the purifier to keep the air pure if someone habitually smokes indoors. The efficiency of the air purifier can be improved by:

  • Reduce Indoor Smoking: Get people who smoke to stop smoking inside as much as possible. This can drastically cut down on the amount of smoke that needs to be filtered by the device.
  • Designated Smoking Areas: If it’s not possible to reduce indoor smoking, provide dedicated smoking locations with enough air flow. There will be less smoke in the rest of the house if you do this.


Air purifiers, especially those designed to remove cigarette smoke, require regular servicing to ensure peak efficiency. Filters quickly lose efficiency when exposed to the tiny particles and chemicals included in cigarette smoke. To keep your air purifier functioning properly, here is a checklist of things to check:

  • Replace Filters: When replacing the filter, make sure to stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines. To ensure continued efficiency, HEPA and activated carbon filters should be changed out as instructed.
  • Clean Pre-filters: If your air purifier has a pre-filter, it should be cleaned frequently to keep the main filters free of debris.
  • Clean the Unit: Check the outside of the air purifier for lingering smoke and wipe it down if necessary. Maintaining a clean appliance keeps it free of the gunk that can slow it down.

Benefits of Using an Air Purifier for Cigarette Smoke

Some benefits of utilizing an air purifier to combat secondhand smoke include the following:

  • Improved Indoor Air Quality: A considerable amount of smoke particles and odors can be removed by using an air purifier, leaving behind cleaner and fresher air.
  • Health Benefits: The health dangers from secondhand smoke can be mitigated with the use of air purifiers by eliminating the smoke and toxins from the air.
  • Odor Reduction: Air purifiers with activated carbon filters are quite effective at getting rid of secondhand smoke odors.
  • Allergen Reduction: Tobacco smoke contains allergens that may be removed using an air purifier, making the environment safer for people who suffer from allergies or respiratory issues.
  • Peace of Mind: Having non-smokers or young children in the house? Knowing you’re working to enhance the quality of the air they breathe can be a great relief.


Air purifiers can be powerful weapons in the fight against secondhand smoke. They can clean the air of smoke and odors while raising the bar on indoor air quality. However, its efficacy is affected by variables such as the air purifier model, the size of the room, and the user’s propensity to smoke. Selecting a HEPA- and activated-carbon-filtered air purifier, keeping it in good working order, and enforcing a no-smoking policy inside the building will yield the best results. The best method to safeguard your health and the health of those around you, notwithstanding the benefits of air purifiers, is to give up smoking. Therefore, air purifiers can be an important tool in the quest for healthier air.

When asking the question, “Does an air purifier help with cigarette smoke?” the answer is a resounding yes, but it’s essential to choose the right air purifier, maintain it properly, and implement good smoking habits for the best results. Clean air and a healthier environment are within reach with the help of the right air purification technology.


Q1: How long does it take for an air purifier to clear cigarette smoke from a room?

A1: Time required to remove cigarette smoke is relative to room size, level of smoking, and air purifier’s capability. In most cases, a significant improvement may not be seen for several hours. For best results, consistent use is required.

Q2: Can air purifiers completely eliminate the smell of cigarette smoke?

A2: Although air purifiers are effective in reducing secondhand smoke, they may not be able to eliminate it entirely, especially if smoking occurs often inside the home. However, they can have a major impact on air quality.

Q3: Do air purifiers remove harmful chemicals from cigarette smoke?

A3: Activated carbon filters in air purifiers can remove some of the toxic compounds included in cigarette smoke. They might not be able to get them all, though. The easiest method to avoid being exposed to these toxins is to stop smoking or to only smoke in designated areas.

Q4: Can I use an air purifier in a car to remove cigarette smoke odor?

A4: Yes, To mitigate the unpleasant effects of secondhand smoke, consider investing in a car air filter. If you want the greatest results, you should get a model that has both a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter.

Q5: Can air purifiers help with thirdhand smoke?

A5: Thirdhand smoke, or the residue left on surfaces and in the air after smoking, can be mitigated with the use of infrared purifiers. The issue can be improved with regular cleaning and air purification.