Can You Smoke Dabs In An Apartment?

What Are Dabs?

Dabs, also known as dabbing, refers to the consumption of highly concentrated doses of cannabis. The term dabs comes from the sticky, oily texture of marijuana concentrates. Dabs are made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids from cannabis flowers using solvents like butane or carbon dioxide. This process leaves behind a waxy, potent substance that is then smoked, vaporized or “dabbed”.

The most common types of marijuana concentrates used for dabs include:

  • Budder – Soft, creamy concentrate with high THC levels.
  • Shatter – Hard, brittle, glass-like concentrate.
  • Live resin – Concentrate with a gooey consistency made from fresh frozen cannabis.
  • Wax – Opaque, waxy concentrate.
  • Oil – Viscous, honey-like marijuana oil.

a person using a dab rig to smoke cannabis concentrates in their apartment

The use of concentrates like these for dabbing allows cannabis users to intake a large dose of THC and other cannabinoids quickly. Dabbing produces potent effects that are stronger and faster than traditional smoking methods. However, the practice remains controversial given the risks and lack of research on long-term effects.


Dab Smoking Methods

There are a few common ways to smoke dabs, including using a dab rig, wax pen, or e-nail. A dab rig is a specialized water pipe designed specifically for dabbing. To use a dab rig, you heat the nail to high temperatures using a torch, then use a dabber tool to place a small amount of dab concentrate on the hot nail while inhaling through the mouthpiece. The dab vaporizes on contact with the hot nail, allowing you to inhale the vapor through the water filtration system.

Wax pens, also known as vape pens, use battery power to heat a coil or ceramic chamber to vaporize dabs for inhalation. Many wax pens are portable and discrete. E-nails electronically heat a nail to an exact temperature for dabbing. Using preset temperature controls eliminates the need to manually heat a nail with a torch.

The basic process of dab smoking is to heat your chosen nail surface hot enough to vaporize the dab concentrate. Use a dabber tool to place a small dab amount on the heated nail. Inhale slowly to pull the vapor through the dab rig or pen. Carefully manage heating and placement to prevent burning or wasting your dabs. Always allow the nail to cool sufficiently between dabs to avoid scorching and ruining your equipment (Source:

Dab Smoke and Odor

Dabs do produce smoke and odor when smoked, however it is generally less pungent and lingering compared to traditional marijuana flower. According to, dab smoke has a lighter, more aromatherapy-like smell. Whereas smoked flower can have a thick, skunky odor, dabs have more subtle herbal and earthy aromas.

The main compound that causes marijuana’s distinctive smell is terpenes. Flower contains a wider array of terpenes compared to concentrated dabs, which have some terpenes removed during the extraction process. Additionally, when flower is burned, it produces tar and other byproducts that contribute to the pungent smell. Dabs tend to produce cleaner smoke without as many byproducts when vaped at lower temperatures.

However, the smell from dab smoke can still be noticeable, especially for neighbors in close proximity. Proper ventilation and measures to contain and eliminate odors are still recommended when smoking dabs in an apartment.

Secondhand Smoke Concerns

Secondhand dab smoke contains many of the same cancer-causing chemicals and particulate matter as tobacco smoke, which can pose health risks to those exposed. According to the CDC, over 80 toxic substances have been identified in secondhand marijuana smoke, including carcinogens like benzene and nitrous oxide[1]. Exposure can irritate eyes, noses and throats, and trigger asthma attacks or allergic reactions. There is also some evidence of risk for respiratory infections, lung cancer and heart disease [2].

In an apartment building, secondhand dab smoke can easily transfer between units and impact neighbors, especially those with respiratory conditions or children. Even if you take precautions, smoke residue will stick to walls, carpets and HVAC systems, exposing others and potentially violating lease terms. Out of respect for neighbors and their health, it’s best to refrain from smoking dabs indoors if possible.

Apartment Smoking Policies

Most apartment leases have specific terms regarding smoking of any substance, including cigarettes, marijuana, and dabs, within rental units or on the property. Landlords typically prohibit smoking inside apartments and other indoor areas due to concerns about secondhand smoke, odor complaints from other tenants, and potential damage to the unit.

According to the Model Smokefree Lease Addendum from, smoking is often completely banned inside rental units and may be restricted to certain outdoor areas only. Under the terms, smoking is defined broadly to include “the inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying of any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, or other tobacco product or plant product intended for inhalation, including hookahs and marijuana, whether natural or synthetic.”

If a tenant violates a no smoking clause, the landlord can issue warnings, fines, or proceed with eviction, as outlined in the lease agreement. According to, landlords in most states have the right to prohibit smoking and make it a basis for eviction. However, local laws may provide certain protections for tenants.

Overall, dab smoking or any marijuana use is typically prohibited if cigarette smoking is banned, unless medical marijuana use is allowed under state law and exempted in the lease. Tenants should understand all smoking rules to avoid penalties.

Risk of Eviction

When you sign a lease for an apartment, you agree to abide by the terms and conditions set forth in the lease. Many standard leases today prohibit smoking of any kind inside rental units and common areas. According to one source, roughly 80% of U.S. multi-unit housing is now smoke-free ( If your lease has a no-smoking clause, smoking marijuana or dabs inside your unit is grounds for eviction.

That said, the odor and smoke produced by dabs is much less than traditional smoking methods. If you take precautions to minimize and contain smells, your neighbors may not notice and report you. Proving marijuana use can also be challenging for landlords without visual evidence. Nonetheless, there is always some risk of eviction if you violate a no-smoking lease.

The likelihood of eviction often depends on the attitudes of neighbors, adequacy of ventilation, lease enforcement policies, and strength of evidence. While not guaranteed, eviction is a real possibility to consider if smoking dabs where prohibited (

Tips to Reduce Smoke and Odor

There are several methods that can help reduce or minimize the smoke and odor from dabs in an apartment:

Ventilation – Open windows, use fans, and create cross breezes to quickly ventilate the area. Consider using a smoke buddy or sploof to exhale smoke through. Opening windows facing different directions can create effective cross ventilation (source).

Air Purifiers – Invest in a quality HEPA air purifier to actively filter and scrub the air of smoke odors. Place near the area where dabs are consumed (source).

Odor Eliminators – Use odor eliminating sprays, candles, or gels after dabbing to help conceal lingering smells. Avoid heavily perfumed options as this can mix with the dab odor. Opt for odor neutralizing sprays instead (source).

Minimize Residue – Wipe down any dab rigs, tools, and surfaces to remove residue that can continue emitting odors. Properly dispose of cotton swabs, towels or other waste (source).

Outdoors and Designated Areas

Using balconies, patios, or designated smoking areas can help mitigate the risks of dab smoke odor and complaints. Many apartments have designated outdoor smoking areas for residents to use. Be sure to check if your lease allows smoking on balconies or patios – some prohibit this. Using these outdoor spaces, closing the door behind you, and exhaling smoke away from the building can help prevent odors from entering your unit or neighbors’. Opening windows and using fans to ventilate these areas after smoking helps clear any lingering smells. Limiting the number of people smoking at once and the frequency of smoking sessions also helps reduce overall odor. Some apartments prohibit smoking anywhere on the premises, so be sure to know the policy. While not completely eliminating risk, using authorized outdoor spaces selectively can make dabbing in apartments more neighbor-friendly.

Consider Alternatives

While dabbing indoors in an apartment does carry risks, there are some less risky alternatives that don’t produce as much lingering smoke or odor. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Try vaping concentrates instead of dabbing, which produces less smoke and smell. Portable vape pens like Puffco are convenient and discreet.
  • Consider edibles or tinctures that don’t require smoking at all. The high from edibles lasts longer too. Just be careful with dosing.
  • If allowed, go outside to smoke in a designated smoking area. This eliminates smoke and odor indoors entirely.
  • Look into odor absorbing sploofs or air filters like SmokeBuddy, Sploofy, or SmokeTrap to help mitigate some smoke and smell.

Exploring alternatives to smoking dabs indoors can help reduce risks and be considerate of those around you. With some adjustments, you can still consume cannabis safely and legally.

Respect Neighbors and Property

Living in close quarters with others means being considerate of how your actions affect your neighbors. When smoking dabs, it’s important to follow your lease agreement and apartment rules to avoid potential complaints or eviction. Most leases prohibit smoking illegal substances. Going outside, using a smoke buddy, spraying air freshener, and running fans can help reduce any smoke smell permeating into common areas or other units.

Avoid smoking near doors, windows, air ducts, or vents where smoke can transfer. Get consent from those you live with before smoking indoors. Even if permitted, refrain from smoking excessively inside to prevent damage like stains or odor sticking to walls, furniture, and carpets which could lead to cleaning fees when moving out.

Being courteous and proactive reduces the chances neighbors will complain to the landlord. Always be mindful of the shared space and do your part to keep the peace.

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