For Home Owners July 25, 2023

How Smoking Can Affect a Home’s Value and How to Mitigate This

Smoking in the US has hit an all-time low in recent years, but millions continue to smoke to this day. Most smokers in America use around six to ten cigarettes daily. With smoking in public laws becoming much stricter across the country, more smokers are choosing to smoke at home. However, this convenient solution has negative impacts not only on health but on houses as well. Cigarette smoke can linger in the interior of your home, decreasing its value and making it harder to sell. Here’s how smoking can affect a home’s value and how to mitigate this:

Why smoking devalues a home

Persistent stains and smells

Constant smoking in the home leaves behind yellow stains on walls, carpets, and furniture due to cigarette tar and nicotine. This dramatically affects your home’s value as many people would be less likely to purchase a home with an unsightly look from smoking, especially if they will be forced to pay extra for the renovations. The smell of smoke also lingers in rooms for a long time, affecting air quality and the home’s living environment. The build-up of smoke can even get into your home’s ventilation systems and may need to be replaced if too damaged. Potential buyers may not be happy about your home’s condition, which can keep property value low and drive people away.

Health risks

The effects of smoking in your home don’t go away even if you sell the house. Insights from the National Insititute on Drug Abuse highlight that chemical residue from smoking can linger on surfaces even after smoke has cleared; this phenomenon is called thirdhand smoke, and it still poses many health risks to people who may inhale fumes or touch stained parts of the property. These issues can turn potential buyers off from purchasing your home, especially if lingering toxins can complicate existing health issues and affect new house residents. It also takes a lot of time, effort, and money to replace and repair contaminated items, which is both a hassle to you and the buyer and increases the liability of the sale.

How to preserve your home’s value

Try smokeless alternatives

If you still want to get a dose of nicotine in your home while preventing stains and smells from worsening, smokeless and tobacco-free nicotine products like patches, gums, and pouches are a great alternative to cigarettes. Nicotine pouches tucked between the gum and upper lip are one of the newer alternatives to hit the US market, with brands such as ZYN growing in popularity. Prilla’s deep dive into ZYN pouches outlines how they are tobacco-free and are made with food-grade fillers, nicotine salts, flavorings, and artificial sweeteners instead. You also have the option to choose from flavors like mint, citrus, and coffee and pick from different nicotine strengths like 3mg and 6mg to suit your preferences. Nicotine lozenges are similarly new products and are increasingly available on store shelves. Perrigo’s coated mint nicotine lozenges have recently gained FDA approval, allowing for more convenient options to keep your house smoke-free.

Maintain cleanliness

Cleanliness is crucial for any home and keeps stains and smells at bay. While it may not get rid of them completely, routine cleaning will help ensure your house doesn’t get too damaged and devalued. Cleaning your furniture, walls, floors, and ceilings should be done as much as possible; you can use ingredients like white vinegar or dish soap and baking soda solutions to scrub these areas spotless. You can also enlist the help of professionals to get a deeper cleaning now and then. Our Ultimate Spring Maintenance Checklist post notes that checking your HVAC systems and inspecting your windows and doors are good to do every year. However, you may want to do that more regularly if you’re a smoker to ensure these aren’t too damaged.

Quit smoking

Without a doubt, one of the best things you can do for your house and health is to quit smoking. You can clean your home as often as you want, but it won’t be effective if you continue to smoke. By reducing the smoke in the house, you can prevent stain and smell build-up and minimize harmful toxins. These things can stay in a property for a long time, but quitting smoking can ensure you don’t worsen these issues. Kicking the habit also improves your health drastically and will increase the chance of potential buyers purchasing your home.


If you have any questions about maintaining your home and it’s value or how to mitigate smoke damage or other types of damage, give Kari a call. We are here to help!


This post was written by Samantha Wise for the Kari Haas Real Estate Team blog.