Steam Deck OLED

Valve is warning Steam Deck owners against inhaling the exhaust fumes from the gaming handheld’s top vent, which has become a trending meme in the community.

After a Steam Deck owner asked Valve about “sniffing the vent,” stating that it’s become “somewhat of a meme to enjoy the fumes,” the gaming company’s Steam Support responded a few days later with the following:

“As with all electronics, it is generally not recommended you inhale the exhaust fumes on your device. While there are no safety concerns with general usage, directly inhaling the device’s vent fumes should be avoided,” Valve states.

“We understand that it may be a meme, but please refrain from this behaviour for the safety of your health.”

Valve Steam Deck 3

It’s official: if you’re huffing the fumes of your Steam Deck, you should probably stop doing it. According to posts on Reddit, however, sniffing the top vent has been around since the popular gaming handheld’s arrival in February 2022.

In a r/SteamDeck thread, one user asked, “Does anyone else with a Steam Deck like to smell the hot air that blows out the top of it?” Many agreed, saying, “It does smell good lol I do it too,” and, “I find it soothing and refreshing. Pleasurable.” Clearly, these Steam Decks have a distinct scent owners can’t get enough of.

Apparently, it smells of “fresh electronics” and a “distinct smell of hard plastic.” Others have likened it to “walking into an old school blockbuster,” with another post sharing the sentiment by saying, “the smell of the air flow brought me this nostalgia feeling.”

Whatever the case, Valve wants to put the sniffing to rest, much like how Nintendo doesn’t want Switch owners to lick their cartridges, as IGN reports.

Is it safe to inhale Steam Deck exhaust fumes?

While it’s not something you hear from a company statement every day, Valve believes directly inhaling the Steam Deck’s vent fumes should be avoided. However, it is noted that there are no safety concerns with general usage.

There’s nothing verifying that inhaling hot air from portable electronic devices will lead to long-term effects, but hot air and plastic aren’t exactly considered a healthy mix.

If it’s anything like the smell that comes from soldering electronic components, there are several health hazards. According to manufacturer AirBench, risks include occupational asthma (shortness of breath, chest pains, etc.), headaches, dizziness, and more. Of course, this is more for manufacturer workers – an extreme compared to smelling a Steam Deck.

Steam Deck owners are better safe than sorry when it comes to huffing their devices. Does the Lenovo Legion Go have the same problem? It’s probably best to leave that question unanswered.

Darragh Murphy
Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from the mischievous world of online security to washing machines designed for earbuds. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for laptops into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. When he's not checking out the latest devices and all things tech, he can be found swimming laps, watching terrible shark movies, and trying to find time to game.  Previous Editor at Laptop Mag and News Editor at Time Out Dubai, specialising in food culture, nightlife events, gaming, tech and entertainment.

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