Why candle reduces cigarette smoke odor?

  1. Hi everybody,

    I know some of my friends use candles when they smoke in a room saying that it can get rid of the cigarette odor. Can you explain it by physics (or chemistry).
    I really do not know if this topic is suitable in here.
  2. jcsd
  3. HallsofIvy

    HallsofIvy 40,305
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    It's not physics or chemistry- it's anatomy. Your nose has a certain number of odor receptors that can be "overworked". If you light a candle with a pleasant smell, it can prevent your nose from detecting the smoke smell.
  4. Oh, it sounds cool. Thank you.
    But I am still confused. Sometimes they even use plain candles which have almost no smell (except whey you blow it off). Or it is because of the psychology reason in this case?
  5. It also 'diffuses' the smoke in the room ---disrupts the 'layering' effect which annoys* some people ---

    ---(*yes, that's from experience-- ex-girl friend)


    psychology reason?---changes the mood/atmosphere of the room, even without someone smoking---to quote the ex-girlfriend, again, -> romantic
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2007
  6. yeah i was also told by my friend to light a candle in a smoking room to avoid smoke odor. What is the reason behind this? Really confusing.
  7. You mean all sorts of candles ? !

    Common use candles, birthday candles !!

  8. No, just those which have a special enzyme plug embedded in the candle close to the wick.
    I have one here now.
    BTW, they are expensive.

    Some of those special candles have the enzymes throughout the candle(no plug)
  9. Candles help to reduce tobacco odor in yet another way. Specifically, the high temperature of the flame promotes the oxidation of odor causing compounds (such as cigarette tar) to odorless carbon dioxide and water. In other words, by acting as a 'thermal reactor', a candle flame basically 'burns away' the smelly compounds in cigarette smoke (as well as other foul smelling compounds in the air). For this reason, candles are probably most effective when actually burned while smoking. This way, some of the smoke itself can actually be eliminated before the tar gets a chance to stick to walls, ceilings, and furniture.

    On the other hand, NOTHING eliminates tobacco odors like NOT smoking indoors!!
  10. There are a number of different sections of olfactory sensors in your nose, similar to the taste buds on your tongue. These sensors pick up different types of odors like sweet, dry, tart, spicy, etc. The particles from the cigarette smoke interact with a variety of these sensors causing your brain to recognize the scent. The fragrance from candles counter balance the negative smell of the cigarette smoke, neutralizing it. Then adds positive, pleasant aromas which causes your brain to tell you that you are smelling something which is good.
  11. Intuitively that explanation seems unlikely to me. What is the oxidation rate of a candle compared to the volume of air in a room?
  12. jtbell

    Staff: Mentor

    Wow, the third revival of this thread in five years! :bugeye:
  13. davenn

    davenn 3,466
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2014 Award

    hahaha is it a record for a thread on PF ?

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