Sensor can detect 2nd, 3rd-hand smoke

HANOVER, N.H. — Dartmouth College researchers have created a sensor that detects second and third hand tobacco and marijuana smoke. The device, called AirGuard, uses polymer films to detect, measure and record the presence of nicotine vapor molecules from secondhand and third hand smoke in real time. Its inventor, chemistry professor Joseph BelBruno, says it can pick up concentrations measured in parts per billion.

The plug-in device has two sensors, one attuned to the nicotine in tobacco smoke and another that recognizes a chemical specific to marijuana smoke. A smaller, wearable version that's lighter than a smartphone is scheduled to go on market in the spring of 2015.

Secondhand smoke increases the risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease and illnesses. Third hand smoke is nicotine off-gassing from clothing, furniture, car seats and other material.

BelBruno is co-founder of FreshAir Sensors, the company marketing AirGuard, along with Jack O'Toole, chief executive officer of FreshAir.

"Our sensor device will allow people to monitor unobserved areas and ensure they are not being smoked in. It sends a signal over Wi-Fi that immediately alerts customers to someone smoking in a prohibited area," O'Toole said.

For more details about this invasive technology, go to

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