Is Smoking Really That Bad For Audio Equipment?


I have my friends over periodically, and some of them smoke. At the moment, I ask them to go outside to have a cigarette because I'm concerned that smoke will be bad for stereo equipment. I don't worry much about the smell because I have hardwood floors and minimal furniture, so there's not much to trap the smell. Does cigarette smoke damage speakers or does it get into audio equipment and leave residue on electrical connections, etc? I am curious whether there have been any incidents where cigarette smoke actually harmed someone's equipment?
firecracker_77
I'd be more worried about my lungs than the stereo.
But the equipment is not really harmed by such minimal occasional smoking. The problem is the heavy smoker with no ventilation. Stuff from such a place just plain stinks, and stinks bad.
Some folks are very sensitive about the smell of tobacco smoke, and they might complain about buying your stuff someday.
I personally would not allow smokers to smoke in my place.
(unless they wore a plastic baggie over their heads...)
Thanks for the reply. I was thinking that the smoke might damage the speaker surrounds or leave a film on the electrical connectors. Your explanation makes sense, and I can understand why no one would want to purchase used equipment if it smelled like smoke.
No, it's just the issue of the brown tar getting all over everything from heavy smokers.
I once bought an amp from a heavy smoker on Audiogon who claimed the amp was in "near-mint" condition and did not divulge that the amp was exposed to a lot of smoking. I'm telling you, the thing reeked and was disgusting. I had to take it all apart and clean it the best I could. I couldn't believe all the brown tar that came off it -- including the connectors... It was really upsetting.
Anyone that has cleaned the windows of a room used by smokers has seen the nasty film residue that the smoke leaves. Now imagine this in the electronics, speaker cones and tubes of your favorite gear...................
If I see audio equipment smoking I unplug it immediately!!
It's very bad for audio equipment to be smoking!!
Jmgrogan2

Hillarious

Chuck

I bought two interconnects from someone who smoked and they stank for over a year. I had them ozoned professionally and then sold 'em. They really stank and stunk up my room. I will never again buy from anyone who admits to smoking, even those who claim they "never smoke in the house".
I would not even let them smoke in my house, audio equipment or not. The sheetrock walls absorb smoke, a lot of it will turn them brown. Bad deal any way you look at it.
If the equipment smell of smoke, it means tobacco residues have deposited all over the equipment, doesn't it? Think about it.
If you have electrostats it will definitely damage them. Those panels are like magnets for smoke particles.
I hate smoking too,very nusty habbit and feel sorry for all the smokers that are slaves to their addiction.I agree with Elizabeth regarding second hand smoke.Our lungs are priceless.
George
Short answer yes, it may take quite awhile for it to do its dirt so to speak however. Smoke, dust etc all will have it's negative effect on various types of gear over the course of time. Moreover,it just stinks ,at least if you are a non smoker. For the non smoker bringing smoked up gear into your system is hard to live with.
As long as it's high-quality hashish that is being smoked, through a thoroughly cleaned TM bong, then I say go for it.
The computer industry was one of the first industries to establish no-smoking policies. According to Hewlett-Packard: "Cigarette smoke particles are eight times larger than the clearance between disk drive read/write heads and the disk surface." The particulates in smoke especially tar, will embed on and in your equipment, including in the grooves of your vinyl. Why bother being an audiophile if you allow cigarette and cigar smoke to affect the quality of your equipment, which inevitably effects the sound?
I purchased a pair of Audio Research Reference 300 Mono amps used form a dealer. I knew the dealer and the previous owner very well so I felt OK about the used purchase. After about 3 weeks of enjoyment I went to turn on one of the Mono amps and BOOM it sparked, smoked and scared the daylights out of me.

I sent them back to Audio Research for repair and they told me there was so much tar and nicotine on the boards that because I leave near the ocean and on a damp day, which it was, that residue on the boards was conductive and shorted out the Amp. He said he would try to clean up the amp but could not be sure of the success.

The previous was very good with his gear, a real audiophile. However he smoked alot of cigars when he listened to music and watched TV and his wife smoked cigaretts. It was a true smoking household.

I will be careful in the future when buying gear in regards to smoke.

PS I decided to upgrade the amps to MK II which gave new insides so I would avoid future problems.
I purchased a pair of Audio Research Reference 300 Mono amps used form a dealer. I knew the dealer and the previous owner very well so I felt OK about the used purchase. After about 3 weeks of enjoyment I went to turn on one of the Mono amps and BOOM it sparked, smoked and scared the daylights out of me.

I sent them back to Audio Research for repair and they told me there was so much tar and nicotine on the boards that because I leave near the ocean and on a damp day, which it was, that residue on the boards was conductive and shorted out the Amp. He said he would try to clean up the amp but could not be sure of the success.

The previous owner was very good with his gear, a real audiophile. However he smoked alot of cigars when he listened to music and watched TV and his wife smoked cigaretts. It was a true smoking household.

I will be careful in the future when buying gear in regards to smoke.

PS I decided to upgrade the amps to MK II which gave new insides so I would avoid future problems.
TM bong?
TM bong?
I went bowling tonight and saw a sign in the bowling alley that starting Monday cigarette smoking is banned in all indoor public settings in Chicago. So, I think that smoking will continue to decline as smokers have less opportunities to engage their habit. At my office, the smoking area is outside and tucked out of sight from the street and away from the occupants going into and out of the building. I heard a rumor that soon smokers will not be allowed within 50 feet of a public building. The tax on cigarettes here is several dollars so that a pack costs $7.00. Think of all the audio equipment they could buy if they quit that habit.
Unsound and Tobias:

"TM bong?"

ToqueMaster. 'nuff said... ;-)
Gtthrush1 I say vaporize!;)-~
I'm not a cig smoker myself but I have an ashtray available at all times for friends to smoke at my place. I am not about to send my friends outside in the cold Wisconsin winter or the sweltering Wisconsin summer. My rack is housed out of the room anyway, and as long as they're not blowing smoke right at the Kharmas, we're cool. I should mention my room is about 25' by 14' with 10' ceilings, so there's enough space for the smoke to am-scray.

Of course hash is welcome here any time, bawng, glass, paper, vaporizer or fresh fruit! hehe. Same rule applies.

I agree that a regular smoker in an unventilated room is a different story, but if it's just the occasional occurrence it's not going to be a problem and don't let the propaganda sway you otherwise.

MHO anyhoo.
"ToqueMaster" ?! ROFLMAO !
Everyone knows that smoking stunts the growth of your equipment.
Dirtyragamuffin, I was in Green Bay in Dec. 04 and it was freaking cold compared to Chicago. I guess you have to be be alot tougher to endure Wisconsin winters, and I could see why you would not ask your friends to head outside. I have never had hashish...it would probably be too strong for me. I will stick with beer and whiskey when I am looking to relax. A little off topic, but there was this beer from Wisconsin called Rhinelander. It was really cheap and pretty decent, but unfortunately I can no longer find it. Such is life!
Yes, vaporize!
No tar, no smoke, no combustion, no irritants... just pure vapor.
No cancer, no bronchitis, no emphysema, no stroke, no heart disease...just pure pleasure.
I was at a friend's house listening to music when his amp started smoking. He immediately turned it off and sent it to its room without dinner. He said he would not tolerate smoking in his house :)
If you think the heaters have a diverse effect on your gear, wait till one of you "toqemasters" spills the bong water!

In my line of work, we have a policy that states, whenever the smoke has been let out of one our machines, the plc must be rebuilt! Smoke is bad.
I can't answer that question from a strictly audio point of view, but I can tell you that I used to have a PC repair business and serviced some computers at smokers' homes. It was disgusting. At times I took PCs outside in the middle of winter just so the smell didn't nauseate me.

The most common problem I found in smokers' computers was malfunctioning RAM and CPUs - two of the most sensitive pieces in a computer. While the smoke particles didn't actually affect the parts themselves (at least not enough to cause serious errors), it fell into the mounting slots and reduced the connection. After I opened up and cleaned the innards of the PC it ran better. Audio equipment has similar characteristics of electronic boards and cables being mounted into other boards.

I wouldn't worry about the audio equipment though. What about your health?
It's been many years since I was involved with this area as a science, but IIRC, nicotine is bad for that most important piece of audio equipment, the chochlea, aka inner ear, that piece of equipment that transduces the fluid dynamic movement of the hair cells into a synapse eventually perceived as sound.

There is debate about whether we are monaurally phase sensitive, but we are demonstratively binaurally phase sensitive, so you want to keep hearing in both ears intact.

db