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Why Does Our House Smell Like Cigarette Smoke (But We Don’t Smoke)? 10 Possible Reasons

Cigarette Smoke

If you are not a smoker or have stopped smoking, you might be sensitive to the smell of cigarette smoke in your home. But if no one in your home is smoking, where is the smell coming from? Third-hand smoke is not a pleasant odor.

This article will help you figure out where that lingering smell of cigarettes is coming from and what you can do about it.

divider 5 Why Does Our House Smell Like Cigarette Smoke (10 Reasons)

1. Unknown Household Smokers

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Assuming that the culprit is not you, there could be someone in your house smoking without your knowledge. Many times, people think that they can just smoke a quick cigarette by the window, and no one will know. What they do not think about is the fact that the smell still lingers. Rule out any members who might be sneaking around.

2. Former Smoker Occupants

The smoke smell could be coming from former occupants. If your house has been lived in before, chances are they may have smoked in it. In 2019, an estimated 34.1 million US adults were current cigarette smokers. With staggering numbers, the chances are pretty high.

3. Residue From Former Smokers

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If you used to be a smoker, the remnants of your smoking days could be coming back to haunt you. Smoking leaves behind a residue. Even though you quit, the odor stays.

4. Second-Hand Furniture From Smokers

If you have recently bought second-hand furniture, you might want to give it a sniff. Many people do not re-upholster or clean furniture before they get rid of it. You may have bought used furniture from one of those millions of Americans who smoke.

5. Outside Smokers Too Close

Outside smoking
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A household member, friend, or neighbor could be smoking too close to your windows or doors. Every time they light up, the wind could be pushing that smoke into your house. Even smoking in a garage could be bringing the smell indoors.

6. Phantom Smells From Sinusitis

If you have recently suffered from allergies or a sinus infection, you could be smelling phantom smells. A clogged nose can sometimes make us smell things that are not there. If this is the case, wait for your issues to clear up and see if you still smell them.

7. Old Air Filters

Ash Tray
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If you move into a new or different home, it is a good idea to change the air filters. Air filters should be changed every three to six months, or they will not be as effective. Checking and changing them could be all you need to do.

8. Poor Air Sealing

Sometimes, odors from outside can leak in if you have damaged or aged seals. If you have a neighbor that smokes, their smoking could be leaking into your house. A good way to check this is to light some incense outside. Retreat to the indoors and see if any smells leak through.

9. Damage to Water Heat and Furnaces

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Over time, your water heater can accumulate dust and other debris. When it runs, this can cause it to burn, which could be the culprit. If you have a gas-powered heater, then a leak could be the cause. Overheated HVAC motors and fans can also create burning smells. Because the vapors have the same chemicals as cigarettes, it could be what you are smelling.

10. Hanging Around Smokers

You do not smoke, but your friends do. Hanging around with smokers not only exposes you to second-hand smoke but also third-hand smoke. The residue is left on your hair and clothes, as well as anywhere they have sat or touched. You may not want to get rid of your friends, but they could be the reason your house stinks.

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What Actually Is Third-Hand Smoke?

Third-hand smoke is the tar residue that is left behind from smoking tobacco. This residue is made of nicotine and other chemicals found in cigarettes. The residue can be left on clothes, walls, floors, and even furniture. This residue can also build up on surfaces over time.

inhale smoke
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What Are the Dangers of Third-Hand Smoke?

You can be exposed to third-hand smoke from simply touching surfaces that are contaminated but also through respiratory exposure. Breathing in third-hand smoke can cause many health issues. Exposure to third-hand smoke can alter your DNA and lead to lung cancer. Because of the carcinogens and other chemicals in tobacco smoke, you are at risk of the same diseases and health issues as those who do smoke. Children who are exposed to third-hand smoke are the most at risk.

How Do You Get Rid of the Smells?

Now that you have an idea of causes, there are plenty of solutions.
  • Check for the seals. Replace any damaged or aged seals. It is also important to check your water heater and the furnace for damage. You may want to call a professional for help with this. If all of this checks out, then the following suggestions are the next step.
  • Clean everything. Smoke residue can stick to walls, floors, cabinets, and any surface in your home. You can use vinegar to clean almost all surfaces in your home. Baking soda can be mixed with vinegar to create a nice paste for hard buildups. Baking soda also helps to get rid of that lingering vinegar smell. You can also put vinegar in carpet and upholstery cleaners. Tile floors can be cleaned with water and bleach to get rid of old smells and stains.
  • Renovations can also help to get rid of tobacco smells. Although you should still clean first, there are products like odor sealant paints that can cut some of the work time down. Revarnish any wood floors and replace carpets as well. You may also want to repaint cabinets and doors as well as trims.
  • Checking your ventilators for clogs can be beneficial as well. You might also want to clean or replace your HVAC and filters. Air purifiers can be placed in rooms throughout your home to help remove unwanted smells and pollutants. Try using carbon filters for the best results. You can also open windows and turn on fans to help circulate smells out of the home.

divider 5 Conclusion

Third-hand smoke has potential health risks to you, your children, and even your pets. If you are smelling smoke in your house, it is advised that you resolve the issue. Third-hand smoke can lead to respiratory issues and cancer. If the problem is too big to solve on your own, you can always call a professional for help. This article is only meant to inform.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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