What is the difference between Pepper Spray and tear gas?

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The reaction to pepper spray is involuntary (not dependent on pain response), so pepper spray is effective on those who feel no pain, such as psychotics, drunks and drug abusers. Pepper spray also works to control wild animals. Tear gas is not effective in these situations. Tear gas vaporizes to some extent. It may have some effect on a person who is hit less accurately, due to the vapors being inhaled or drifting into the eyes. Pepper spray does not emit fumes, and it will not deteriorate with age, but it must be sprayed in the eyes or inhaled directly to be effective. Tear gas takes take longer to be effective, anywhere from 5 seconds to 30 seconds, while the effects of pepper spray are quicker. Tear gas also takes longer to wear off and the chemical residue can last for days. more
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Pepper spray is considered to be more effective than tear gas for several reasons. The reaction to pepper spray is involuntary it works on everyone even if they feel no pain due to intoxication or drugs. Pepper spray will also work on animals for the same reason. Pepper spray does need to be sprayed into the eyes or inhaled to be effective, but it does not evaporate as tear gas does. Pepper spray acts faster than tear gas and wears off faster as well. Because there are advantages to each, some products contain both pepper spray and a tear gas, along with a dye.
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