Damage to Mac desktops from smoking?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by visvaldis, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. visvaldis macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2008
    I have a G4 MDD since 8 years. I often worked on the computer and smoked.
    A few months ago I quit smoking.
    I wonder if anyone knows specifics what damage smoke does to Macs. I do not doubt that smoke is harmful to me as well as the computer, but I'd like explanations, instead of smoke damages everything. Like, does smoke damage the hard drive, keyboard, the logic board, or whatever.

  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I don't think it will harm a computer.

    I've worked in offices where smoking was allowed and there was no issues.
  3. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    There's nothing I know of that's Mac-specific, but some of the items potentially affected by a smoking environment include smoke residue build-up on connector and non-sealed switch contacts (potentially an insulator that leads to connection failure); this may include some keyboards, although most are pretty well sealed in terms of dust. Ash can contribute to dust build-up inside the device (which can lead to cooling issues).

    Hard drives are sealed, so they're pretty much immune. Optical drives, since they're not sealed, are at risk (dirty lens, mostly).
  4. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    Also, components in the cooling air path will get covered with tar and gook. That'll be the vents in and out, and the fan(s) too.
  5. divad macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2016
    My smoking extensively damaged my MacBook Pro, after about 2 1/2 years. First to go was my DVD drive. I then had to replace the motherboard. The tech said that he used a fan to blow the smoke away from his Mac, but with the way the tar coats everything, I think one would still eventually have problems. I am now having problems with my iPad that I suspect may partly be attributed to my smoking.
  6. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Smoke does impact electronics. Here is why - smoke leaves a residue on surfaces that in itself and acting as a magnet for dust, creates a form of "insulation" that raises the temperatures of some electronics. As well, it certainly can form a film over screens which can get hard to remove without thorough wiping with a cleaning agent. The answer remains that it can shorten the life of some equipment if the residue gets to fair proportions but is unlikely to impact for a long time any laptop or desktop. I consider it a non-issue if one keeps their equipment 5 or less years though there are exceptions to the rule.
  7. JamesMike macrumors 603


    Nov 3, 2014
    I agree, I have fixed some computers that had tar built up that caused overheating.
  8. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    I worked on a Mac that came from a home office, as a trade-in for a new Mac. There were 3 or 4 Macs in use, all in a small (8 x 10 ft) basement room, all operated by smokers - with very little ventilation.
    The Mac had been there about 3 years, IIRC. Inside the Mac was literally sticky from tar and other smoke residue.
    It was one of the colored G3 iMacs. You could see the path that air traveled through the Mac from outside the case, as the tar, etc, left a very visible, smeary (ugly/smelly/sticky) trail.
    The Apple Specialist where I worked at the time sold used Macs that were trade-ins. That Mac was very difficult to clean up for resale.
  9. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    First, congratulations on quitting smoking. :) I'm sure it was difficult. :eek: I was a computer and electronic tech for years and can relate to the many times I had to work on units that were primarily used by smokers. Tar, nicotine stains, gummed up exhaust fans and vents were typical. I haven't worked on Macs other than my own and since I have always been a non smoker, I don't really know if the same would happen. But I suspect it would.
  10. ProjectManager101 Suspended


    Jul 12, 2015
    Almost... if you want an accurate answer... ask a girl...
    The nicotine is sticky... when the nicotine falls onto the circuits and the motherboard it collects the dust as phrehdd said. With time more dust get stuck and the heat can not be released into the flow of air, eventually the circuit will burn. That is why most electronics pull air and none pushes air into the equipment OR does it in a way no dust can be sucked in.

    If you have mechanical equipment the damage is faster, all the rubber coils get stuck in no time. That is why smoking is bad in studios and offices.

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