Aside from all the health issues, one of the big advantages vaping has over smoking traditional cigarettes is that it doesn’t smell bad like cigarettes.
But does vaping still leave a lingering smell? Will people know if you’ve been vaping? And how can you get rid of it? In this post, we look at issues like these as we answer the question, how long does a vape smell last?
Different kinds of Vape smells
The question of how long a vape smell lasts is actually a little more complicated than it might seem.
This is because there are many variables that can affect how long the odor lingers, so it’s impossible to give a single answer to the question.
For example, how long a vape smell lasts can depend on the type of device you’re using, the size of the room, how well-ventilated the room is and how often you vape there.
Furthermore, there’s also the question of vaping cannabis products, which has a whole set of other answers.
As a result, in this post, we’ll break all of these down and look at how long a vape smell is likely to last in the situations you’re most likely to be vaping in.
But before we do this, we need to have a look at the technical side of vaping and how vaping differs from smoking traditional cigarettes – so let’s do that now.
The difference between smoking and vaping
Everyone knows that smoking smells. If you smoke just one cigarette – even out in the open – people will be able to smell it on your clothes for hours afterwards. And if you smoke indoors the smell will also linger in the room for hours to come.
More than this, if you smoke in the same room over a period of time, the room will become impregnated with the stale smell of cigarette smoke, and after a while, it will become almost impossible to get rid of it.
After an even longer period, you may even notice that the walls and other surfaces start to show tell-tale smoke stains – and the only way to remove them will be to repaint the room.
This is because when you light a cigarette, the smoke is the result of the combustion of the tobacco leaves, and these tiny smoke particles float around the room until they settle on something.
These particles, essentially the remnants of burnt leaves, are both heavy and sticky.
As a result, they linger in the air for a long time, and when they come into contact with a surface, including walls, furniture, curtains, carpets or clothes, they stick to it, causing the smell to linger even longer.
However, when you vape, it doesn’t involve the combustion of plant materials.
Instead, a mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine and flavorings is heated to produce a cloud of aerosols (contrary to popular belief, vaping doesn’t technically produce vapor – although “vapor” has become a shorthand way of referring to vape clouds).
These aerosols are less dense, so they dissipate much more quickly, and while they do land on surfaces and stick to them, the odor they create doesn’t linger as long – and they are also much easier to wash off since they are water-soluble.
How long vape smells last in different environments
Having looked at how vape clouds are different from cigarette smoke, now we can move on to looking at how long vape smells last in different settings.
1. Vaping once indoors in a well-ventilated room
If you take a few puffs from your vape indoors in a well-ventilated room, the smell may hang around in the air for a few minutes, but because the aerosols are light and mobile, most will quickly escape from the room, and the odor will be gone within minutes.
Of course, this depends on the size of the room and the amount of ventilation.
In a large room with plenty of ventilation, the smell will disappear quickly. However, in a smaller room with less ventilation, the smell may linger for up to five minutes – but not much longer.
The vaping device you use can also affect how long the odor lasts.
If you use a large sub-ohm vape that’s designed to produce large clouds of vapor, the smell will last much longer – but if you use a small disposable vape that produces less vapor, the smell will dissipate much faster.
2. Vaping once indoors in a poorly ventilated room
If you vape once in an enclosed space with no ventilation, the vape smell will be noticeable for longer. However, even in a situation like this, it won’t last anywhere near as long as the odor from smoking a tobacco cigarette.
With a small vaping device that doesn’t produce much of a cloud, the smell may last for at least five minutes or more – but with a big sub-ohm vape, the odor may be noticeable for up to 15-20 minutes after you vape.
3. Vaping regularly in a well-ventilated room
If you vape regularly in the same room but the room is well-ventilated, it shouldn’t mean the smell lasts any longer.
This is because most of the aerosols in the vape cloud will be able to escape from the room before settling on anything, so the room won’t become impregnated by the smell.
It is possible that if you continue to vape in the same room over a long period and never clean the furniture, carpet or curtains, it might eventually start to take on the smell of vaping, but this would take a long time and would be easy to rectify by cleaning.
4. Vaping regularly in a poorly ventilated room
If you vape regularly in a poorly ventilated room, the aerosol particles will have more chance to settle on the various surfaces in the room, and eventually, this will “perfume” the room.
You may notice a distinctive slightly sticky vape film developing on hard surfaces that is due to the build-up of aerosols landing there.
You won’t be able to see the same kind of film on fabrics, but if it’s appearing on hard surfaces, you can be sure your fabrics are being affected too.
Once this kind of odor becomes noticeable in the room, it will stay there as long as you continue to vape there – you might not notice it because you are used to it, but other people will be able to smell it when they come into the room.
However, it’s also easy to get rid of because all you need to do is clean the hard surfaces, vacuum your carpets and perhaps wash the curtains and steam-clean your upholstered furniture.
If you stop vaping in the room, the smell will also gradually disappear by itself.
Again, this situation is also affected by the device you use, with large sub-ohm vapes creating more of a smell more quickly than smaller devices.
5. Vape smells on clothing
The degree to which your clothes will smell of vape will depend on all the same factors as vaping indoors.
If you vape outside with a small disposable vape, the odor will be barely detectable on your clothes if at all. However, if you vape indoors with a large sub-ohm vape, the aerosols may impregnate your clothes, and the odor may still be noticeable several hours later.
6. Vaping cannabis products
If you vape cannabis products – using a dry herb vape, cannabis oils or any other cannabis vape – the same guidelines apply as for regular vapes since the science is the same.
If you vape in a well-ventilated area, the smell will quickly disappear, but in an enclosed area, it will hang around for a lot longer.
The only difference is that cannabis products tend to have a distinctive and unmistakable weedy aroma that other people are likely to notice, so make sure you vape somewhere with plenty of ventilation if you don’t want anybody to know what you’re doing.
Tips for reducing vape smells
Finally, here are a couple of tips for reducing how long the smell of vaping lasts.
As we’ve mentioned, ventilation is key if you don’t want the smell of vaping to hang in the air – so simply by increasing the ventilation in a room, you can allow the smell to dissipate faster.
Clean the room regularly
Vaping can eventually cause a lingering odor in a room due to the aerosol particles impregnating fabrics and covering furniture.
However, it’s much easier to get rid of this than the smell of cigarette smoke, and regularly cleaning the room will help minimize any unwanted smells.
Use a smaller vape
Using a smaller vape that produces less of a cloud will also help reduce the smell.
A great option for this would be something like the Spiritbar Katana 10000, a vape inspired by Japanese katana swords. They are stylish to look at and comfortable to use, with each disposable vape providing the user with 10,000 puffs.
They are extremely simple and convenient to use and will also cause less of a lingering smell when vaping indoors compared to large sub-ohm vapes.
Choose a vape with lower VG content
Vegetable glycerin, or VG for short, is added to vape juice to make the vape cloud thicker – so by switching to vape juices with lower VG content, your vape will create lighter clouds that dissipate more easily and cause less of a lingering smell.
A much better option than smoking
As we’ve seen, vaping can leave a smell – but it’s nothing like the lingering odor of stale cigarette smoke.
Furthermore, you can easily reduce the smell by improving the ventilation or by using a smaller vape like a disposable. Even better, any smells are easy to get rid of – so vaping is a clear winner in terms of smell compared to traditional tobacco cigarettes.