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AirGuard Smoke Detector Knows When You’re Smoking Pot

A cigarette smokes near a plug in that holds a special smoke detector that can tell when you are smoking pot.

Joint Opinions

AirGuard Smoke Detector Knows When You’re Smoking Pot

AirGuard, a sophisticated new smoke detector will be able to ascertain if someone is smoking marijuana, and depending on where it’s installed, may alert the authorities. Sound scary? Well, for many residing in states where marijuana is still prohibited, this advanced device may further cripple their freedom to toke.

AirGuard doesn’t just detect smoke, but it can actually determine if someone is in the act of smoking. The detector uses chemically sensitive polymer films to recognize, measure and record the presence of nicotine vapor molecules from secondhand and thirdhand smoke in real time.

While it does not detect THC, AirGuard’s inventor and Dartmouth chemistry professor, Joseph J. BelBruno, has said that the tool has two sensors, one conditioned to the nicotine in tobacco smoke and another that identifies a specific chemical that is more prevalent in marijuana smoke.

According to BelBruno, this aforementioned chemical will remain secret until he and his team are ready to sell the device in 2015. The inventor also said that AirGuard is able to pick up concentrations measured in parts per billion. The device’s ability to reveal thirdhand smoke allows it to be used to expose traces of smoke in a room’s carpet or furniture or on a person’s clothing.

BelBruno is co-founder of FreshAir Sensors, the company developing AirGuard, along with Jack O’Toole, FreshAir’s chief executive officer. AirGuard’s target market is said to be hoteliers and landlords since the high-tech device helps enforce no-smoking policies in shared living spaces.

“There are concerns about people smoking in hotel rooms and there is also a surprising amount of interest from places like public housing, condo associations, dorms, nursing homes and jails,” O’Toole said.

BelBruno was surprised to find that hotel management found marijuana smoking to be a much more pressing issue than cigarette smoking. Initially, the professor and his team were only working on detecting nicotine, but hotel management requested a device that could recognize marijuana smoke as well.

Two versions of the detector will be sold: one that can be plugged into a typical two-plug electrical outlet and another battery-operated, wearable model that can fit in the palm of one’s hand. The outlet model will be connected via a user’s Wi-Fi network to FreshAir’s server, while the handheld version will activate using an Android app via Bluetooth.

O’Toole told Dartmouth Now, “Our device will allow users to monitor unobserved areas and ensure these spaces are not being smoked in. It sends a signal over Wi-Fi that immediately alerts facility managers to someone smoking in a prohibited area.”

Through the outlet model, the server will send an email to the hosts, whether that be property or hotel managers, informing them that smoking has occurred in a non-smoking room. According to BelBruno, the server also enables managers to access a dashboard, which connects them with the devices, allowing them to retrieve data or configure the device.

As for whether the use of e-cigarettes is detected through the AirGuard, BelBruno said that while there is a bit of smoke that may escape from the e-cigarette, there is not enough nicotine that is released for the device to take notice.

BelBruno seems hopeful that AirGuard will have an extensive client list when the device is launched in spring 2015. The inventor said that people have called from nursing homes, dormitories and other public housing all interested in installing the detector.

Do you smoke in your apartment, dorm room or hotel? How would you feel if this device was installed in your space? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.



  1. Sandra

    February 26, 2019 at 12:18 am

    Can a landlord detect smoke days, hours after being smoked with no devices yet installed?? In other words if you smoked yesterday but there is no device plugged up. Can landlord come in your apartment with device to detect if smoking marijuana occured? Asking for a friend! Is there such device?

  2. Silvia

    September 17, 2015 at 1:13 am

    I am living in Catalonia and there we do not have laws to protect us against second or third hand smokers of marihuana. I have three little kids (1, 4 and 5 years old) and my neighbour is smoking marihuana daily for hours. Of course, even that we close windows, the smoke comes inside with its toxic effects. Calling the police is not a suitable solution in my country because he has the right to smoke at home or balcony even if the smoke is affecting his neighbours and there are minors living there. A device like this can help us to prove that the smoke is inside our home. I thank the inventors for that.

  3. Jamie

    August 13, 2015 at 2:59 am

    My sister lives with me and my 12 year old daughter. She smokes weed and she knows not to do it inside my house and where my daughter may smell it but she has smoked inside and gets friends of hers to come through the house to see if they can smell it they can’t but the thing is my strong nose can. She lies to me I know it. She says it’s coming off her clothes only. Would be good to get actual proof that it is being detected. I feel like me and my daughter have to suffer breathing in the toxic fumes. I know it’s not in my head. Like…. Is someone really this stupid! Did she not learn… Does she think I’m stupid! Some say I should kick her out but I can’t really pay my mortgage myself and she has no where else to go. If I had a device like this I would have a sure evidence and maybe if she still is being inconsiderate I might just have to kick her out. I just want to prove to her that it’s still in the air, carpet, curtains, bedding etc. I hope I can buy it from Australia Or sample it 🙂

    • yelena gulyaev

      March 1, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      i want to buy this detector

  4. Joseph Bronkhorst

    June 7, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    This is good for us that want clean air. To bad for those that wanna get stoned lol…

  5. FatkidTheJoker

    December 15, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    So has anyone thought to just unplug it if you see it in your room?

  6. Chinkylids

    November 23, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Ohhhhhh…. Yeah. Fuck you Airguard. Intruder…spy ….. SNITCH

    • SMITH

      December 31, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      CHINKYLIDS…hope you get arrested, just for being STUPID.

  7. Chinkylids

    November 23, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    What happened to, The freedom of Right and Wrong. The Choice to choose. And the Ability to correct your mistakes.

    • br

      January 1, 2016 at 11:20 am

      After bailing out of a hotel room at 2am because my kids were coughing due to a dumbass blowing that shit into the bathroom fan, I say go screw your self. My right to my kids health far outweighs you lazy ass not going outside like other smokers. I’m buying stock in detectors.

    • dave

      November 25, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      Chinkylids…NO you do not have the choice to choose, if it’s aganst the law…I know what you have been smoking..Brain dysfunction..

  8. SmallStoner_64

    November 13, 2014 at 12:19 am

    I don’t see why our government would waste time on potheads when there are still many people my age and younger doing meth and Shit. Ya we may be the ones that are pointed out as idiots, but you don’t see anyone trip on some bud and go break into someone’s house and Shit. I mean Fuck man, this country is slowly goin don’t n the shitter.

    • SmallStoner_64

      November 13, 2014 at 12:23 am

      Down not don’t

    • J

      January 31, 2016 at 9:39 am

      Yes, it’s slowly going down the shitter because of stupid potheads. Always with the same stupid excuse “we don’t bread in anywhere or harm anyone, deeeerp,” except when other people need to put up with the smell of shit and a society full of idiots and retards.

  9. Mike

    November 12, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Coming in 2015, Fuck Airguard.

    Fuck Airguard is a device coming in 2015 available for anyone who likes to enjoy marijuana.

    The product features deluxe suction against the polymer protection, with easy to remove pulls incase your room is about to be searched.

    Expectations for sales are high with the release of Fuck Airguard.

  10. BigAssB

    November 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Damn if they had that in my dorm room I would of be kicked out much sooner

  11. lesley jean

    November 11, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Why is it some doctors prescribe cannabis? Its used for ailments! You won’t get any doctor on this planet! Putting cigarettes on a prescription food for thought! Yet one they can prescribe is illegal speaks volumes no? One may be of medical help ciggies are cancer sticks! Any views!

  12. beth gramkow

    November 11, 2014 at 10:41 am

    If its a no smoking hotel room or dorm room then it’s ok but if it’s used in a apt just for pot then no or if so allow a place to smoke . As the law stands right now in Washington you can not smoke out side like you can with cigarettes so in your home you should be allowed .pot smoke does not make walls yellow and the smell does not get into the carpet like cigarette smoke does.

  13. lesley jean

    November 11, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Whatever next another money making device hotels fine you 100 pounds if you smoke IBIS they DON’T provide an indoor area for you to smoke! Remember the Government sells you your cancer sticks and now dictates how n when you can smoke ! Wow liberty’s as for freedom not anymore! The governments the poor mans enemy x

  14. MommaPitbull

    November 11, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Yeah, this device could be a buzz kill if you’re breaking the rules. There’s an easy way to avoid that problem though – getting a hotel room? Get a smoking room. If its a dorm or apartment, smoke outside or somewhere else.

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