I recently visited a local vape shop and (legal) marijuana dispensary to discuss what kind of air purifier they used. I wanted to find out from real life users of air purifiers, which models they found most effective for vaping. What better real-life user than a vape shop! What I found was nothing short of a full-out assault on air impurity. The owner carefully selected everything in the store to lessen any damage that might happen. The materials of the store fixtures, the paint on the walls, the flooring, the decorations – EVERYTHING — was in need of protection. In addition to a central air conditioning system, he was running several air purifiers at once.
The owner told me that they re-designed the store after discovering the vapor (from vapes and electronic cigarettes) leaves a subtle, but difficult to clean, residue, which builds up over time. This is why you need a good air purifier, and you very likely need a dehumidifier too.
Looking for a quick answer as to which Air Purifier is best for you? Click here to take our quiz!
Want to do your own research? Read on!
What is Vaping?
Vaping is heating (and inhaling) a substance, most commonly e-liquids for electronic cigarettes or some forms of marijuana or hashish. When you exhale, you are breathing out a gaseous substance that looks like smoke but isn’t (it is vapor).
Smoking uses fire to burn the substance. You inhale the smoke that comes from that burning process. This is unhealthy for a lot of reasons that are well known to most people. Vaping, on the other hand, applies heat to the substance (but not fire) until it transforms into a vapor. Unless you put tobacco in your vape, the products themselves are often tobacco-free, and sometimes nicotine-free, (compared to a traditional cigarette, which is not).
There are different kinds of vaporizers to use depending on the substance you are vaporizing, e.g. dry herbs, oils, and wax concentrates. Although hybrid vapes can accommodate multiple mediums by using different cartridges, these vaporizers tend to be expensive and/or not work efficiently. The main distinction in product type is between vaporizers and electronic cigarettes:
Vaporizers tend to be used for marijuana, which often goes into the device as a dry herb before it is vaporized. They can range in price from less than $50 to over $300.
Electronic cigarettes turn e-juice or e-liquid into vapor and is far more commonly seen in public, along with the thick, white plumes of vapor that is exhaled, and which looks a lot more substantial than cigarette smoke (but is almost certainly less harmful, see below). E-cigs come in disposable forms that are inexpensive, or in higher quality devices that can cost up to $200, and are more like vaporizers.
What is in eLiquid?
eLiquid is the substance you put in your vape or electronic cigarette, which is then heated up and transformed into a vapor. It is basically a flavored compound. Some e-liquids contain nicotine and some are nicotine free. When you hear talk about the “strength” of an e-liquid, you are hearing about the nicotine content, which typically comes in five different strengths ranging from none (no nicotine) to high (roughly 24mg of nicotine)
eLiquid is comprised of base flavor ingredients, usually consisting of Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerin (VG) or both. Most e-Liquids have mixes containing 70% PG/ 30% VG or 50% PG/ 50% VG. PG and VG are combined with natural or artificial flavors like citrus or cinnamon to create unique blends and flavors. Propylene Glycol is a common, non-toxic flavoring carrier in food products, food coloring and is also found in several medicines. A blended PG/VG base is smoother than a 100% PG base. Vegetable Glycerin is a non-toxic vegetable-based liquid. On its own, it is too thick to vaporize effectively, which is why you see it blended.
How does Vaping affect my lungs and health?
When water vapor condenses, the water is absorbed into the bloodstream. Because PG and VG molecules are big, they will mostly not be absorbed by most people. Human lungs have a process that allows for non-absorbable particles to be cleared – you see this in action when you cough up mucus – and this is what will likely become of the PG/VG not absorbed. You will spit it out or swallow it. Most likely you will swallow it because not all of it will make itself ready to be spit out, i.e. travel up and into your mouth.
Flavorings are separate from PG/VG and behave differently in our systems. Each flavoring will have a different chemical profile, making it difficult to determine categorically what their fate will be once in your system. Most of the vapor, you exhale, after that, some will be absorbed into your lungs, and some may come out in your mucus or be swallowed and then processed in your body.
In comparison to cigarette smoke or other tobacco products like cigars, you are inhaling a variety of toxic chemicals, some of which are present in the cigarette mixture, and many of which are the byproduct of lighting the cigarette on fire. There is a lot of literature on why this is bad, but the ultimate difference is that your lungs, relative to dealing with PG/VG, are not good at dealing with cigarette ingredients.
It is important to keep in mind that no definitive studies have yet been conducted by reputable scientists. So while we have some ideas, we don’t have a definitive idea that has been well researched. From a health perspective, vaping is almost certainly better than smoking. Still, we know that PG and VG are commonly used substances for many applications they are listed as verified excipients for inhalation by the International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council. This shows that there is some consensus that there is little risk in long-term use in vaping PG/VG.
Most flavorings are generally volatile, chemically. Because they are volatile, they are more likely to be cleared from the lungs rather than absorbed into the blood. If the eJuice being used is sourced from a reputable place, they are then certified as generally safe; however, this certification is not widespread, even where it applies, unfortunately. Still, there is a reason to be hopeful that vaping flavors to be absorbed in the lungs is roughly as safe as consuming those flavors orally.
As to how it affects the lungs, in particular, no one is certain. It would take a lot of time and money to find out each flavor variant’s effects. More likely to happen is the scientific community do broader studies to reach a general consensus. Ultimately, if you are concerned about how vaping will affect your health, vaping appears preferable to smoking. This goes for cigarettes, cigars, marijuana and any smoked substance. Here are a few examples of large, national bodies weighing in on the topic.
It is mostly the same for marijuana as it is for eLiquid. There aren’t any large scale and reputable studies, but it is thought to be a lot safer to vape than to smoke. Most people are content to proceed on the consensus and not wait for studies to emerge, which could take many years; however, vaping marijuana isn’t 100% risk-free.
There are still all of the potential risks associated with marijuana consumption (regardless of HOW it is consumed). Some people have voiced a concern over whether there is a risk of heating the cheap plastic parts in your vaporizer (when it is heating your marijuana), and whether that could increase the odds of breathing in plastic particles.
If you are vaping hash oil (BHO) rather than dry bud, there is an increased risk that it has been mixed with other unknown chemicals. It is likely better than smoking, and it is likely better than blending tobacco into your dry herb, but there is always an unknown risk if you aren’t sure of the composition or source of your substance.
Thus, Vaping is Safer than Smoking
It looks obvious that smoking anything is bad for you. The little research, combined with anecdotal evidence suggests that vaping is not nearly as bad as smoking, due to the reduction of carbon monoxide intake, among other factors.
- “Vaporizers are many times less harmful than traditional tobacco cigarettes, and vaping can even help smokers quit.” American Heart Association
- “Vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking.” Public Health England
- “The proven advantages of vaping outweigh its “potential” harms. Vaporizers are the first genuinely new way of helping people quit smoking that we have seen in many years.” Royal College of Physicians
Apples still contain glucose, so there is nothing that is 100% perfect, but apples are still healthier than deep fried ice cream. So if you are thinking of switching from smoking to vaping, you are doing yourself a big favor. You can also increase the safety by keeping the air clean where you live and work. It is, therefore, an advisable precaution to use an air purifier to address the potential harms, and also to help eliminate the residual odors of the flavoring released into the air. The vaping element also introduces a humidity issue, where, compared to smoke and other air pollutants, humidity control is not as much of an issue. For this reason, we recommend that heavy vapers use both an air purifier and a dehumidifier. These devices can be purchased either separately or in a combination device.
Residue on Things
You won’t notice any residue the first time, even the first several, you vape in your house or car. If you only vape every so often, you may never experience a residue on your things. However, heavy usage – daily or more often, and depending on the size of the room you’re in and its circulation – you may find that the vapor leaves an obvious residue on walls, ceilings, and things inside the room.
While it may not stain your things, you will find it incredibly difficult to clean. Certain paints, and harder to clean objects like rugs and carpets, are especially tricky. On most surfaces, a damp cloth will clean off the film. On many other surfaces, however, water won’t be effective. For examples, fabrics and painted surfaces are difficult to clean. One side effect of this residue is that it will amass common air pollutants like dust, pet dander, and other common debris. It can also get into your ducts and vents. You truly do not it want in there. It will impair the quality of the output of your ducts and vents, and the quality of air coming out of them. You’ll notice the film on your electronics and decorations. Anything that sits idle over a period of time while you vape is exposed.
Again, a casual infrequent user won’t experience this, only those consistently and frequently vaping. This is why heavy vapers will want to use both an air purifier and a dehumidifier to tackle the issues presented by the use of a vaporizer in your home or car.
Air Purifier and Dehumidifiers – Our Top Picks for 2017
There are many ways to purify the air in your home, by improving circulation and airflow, or by keeping plants, you can effectively clean contaminants out of the air. However, you can’t always perfectly control air flow, and maintaining plants requires a lot of upkeep. If you’re an avid vape user, an air purifier and dehumidifier combination is a simple and effective solution, especially if you live in a humid place with known contaminants. Excess moisture creates an environment for mold and mildew, which will lead to bad smells and damage to your home. It is also not safe to breathe in. If you vape, then you want to make sure you are not exacerbating the issue. A dehumidifier and air purifier can address this by filtering contaminants out of the air.
Compared to smoke, air purification is less of concern when it comes to vaping. For a small room, we would recommend the GermGuardian, because it is great value for the price. If you want to buy an air purifier for other reasons, please read our Buying Guide.
Humidity, on the other hand, will be the primary concern. Ideally, you’ll keep the humidity levels below 50% to help control problems like dust mites, for example.
We have two favorites to recommend for your dehumidifier needs:
FRIGIDAIRE FAD504DWD REVIEW
We HIGHLY recommend the Frigidaire FAD504DWD. It will capture 50-pints of humidity. If you like a little humidity, you can set it to your preferred humidity level, anywhere between 35% and 85%. You can also set a timer if you want to control when it runs.
It weighs about ten fewer pounds than larger, more robust 70-pint models.
- Rates above average for durability
- Quiet on all settings and speeds
- Relatively inexpensive
- Well rated
- There is no defrost mode
- Accuracy and moisture removal is below average
KEYSTONE KSTAD50B DEHUMIDIFIER REVIEW
The Keystone KSTAD50B Dehumidifier features a great control panel to help you operate it with minimal work. The speeds range from Normal or Turbo, allowing you to adjust it to your environment. It comes with an auto-defrost feature to remove frost from its evaporator coils. Additionally, it comes with a removable dust filter.
It is Energy Star certified and has a volumetric capacity of 50 pints, though we prefer the larger model. It suits spaces up to 4,500 square feet.
- Effective moisture removal
- Sleek design
- Easy to use
- Reasonably priced
- Emptying the bucket is awkward until you get the hang of it
- Instruction manual isn’t easy to understand
You now have the fact about vaping and what risks it might pose to you and your environment. We’ve also looked at ways to help protect your environment from humidity and pollutants generated by vaporizers. Be sure to stay current on best practices for healthy vaping. We will keep this page updated with new information when it becomes available.