Vaping has become not just a popular trend in recent years but it is also part of our lives.
We take our vaping pen everywhere we go: on public transportation such as trains and busses, as well as hotel rooms and restaurants.
While vaping often is no issue in open spaces outdoors, some indoor areas may have restrictions on smoking as well as vaping.
Many businesses and public places are not only concerned for possible health implications but they are also worried that vaping could cause false alarms with smoke detectors.
We find out how smoke detectors handle the vape, and what you can do to ensure that smoke alarms at home, in hotel rooms, or other inside spaces don’t get triggered by vaping.
Can Vaping Trigger A Smoke Alarm?
With a vape pen, you do not actually produce smoke but a tar-free cloud of vapor. Although vaping should not usually set off a smoke alarm, it still does happen sometimes.
This depends largely on the type of smoke detector that’s in the room. Not every smoke detector is the same, and each detects smoke or fire in a different way and with different technology.
Smoke detectors are very sensitive devices that can pick up the smallest change in molecules in a room.
That’s why they sometimes get triggered even when cooking or when you have a humidifier in your room.
A smoke alarm cannot distinguish between the vape of your vaping pen, smoke from a fire, or even the small water molecules of a humidifier.
Smoke detectors typically only can tell the presence of anomalies in the air, which then triggers the alarm sound.
False alarms usually happen when there is a large amount of smoke or vapor. However, this depends on the sensitivity settings of the smoke alarm and the type of fire alarm in the room.
Some smoke alarms are much more sensitive than others, and some technology registers changes in the air much faster than others.
While this is great when detecting a real fire, this can also lead to the occasional false alarm when there is any other type of smoke or air change in the room.
However, it is always better to be safe with a sensitive smoke detector, rather than the alarm not going off when there is an emergency.
Different Types Of Smoke Alarms
Different types of smoke detectors use different kinds of technology to trigger the alarming beep when it detects smoke.
Some smoke alarms are much more sensitive than others, and these pick up vaping fumes much more readily.
Photoelectric Smoke Detectors
One of the most common types of smoke alarms, and also the most modern, the photoelectric smoke detector picks up changes in the air through an optical light beam.
This means that any small molecule that breaks the beam does get detected and the alarm will then sound.
This type of fire alarm is very sensitive and it detects even the smallest changes.
If you have one of these smoke detectors in your kitchen, then you may find that it does go off more often because it is sensitive to large steam clouds from cooking.
The same applies to vaping which also can produce reasonably large vapor clouds. These can easily trigger a photoelectric smoke detector.
Ionization Smoke Detectors
Another popular smoke alarm is the ionization smoke detector. This device also relies on the disruption of a signal to detect smoke.
However, it works slightly differently than the photoelectric smoke detector. Ionization smoke alarms create a current which is broken when certain particles are detected in the air.
Although this type of smoke detector isn’t as accurate as the photoelectric detector, they can also trigger false alarms when a large plume of vapor hits the current inside the device.
Some restaurant kitchens and other businesses use a specific heat-based smoke detector. These devices detect heat, rather than smoke.
This helps to avoid any false alarms from cooking steam and even vaping.
However, heat-based smoke alarms are usually used in places where the public does not necessarily have access.
The final type of smoke alarm that may set off false alarms from vaping is a combination detector.
As the name suggests, this detector typically combines either photoelectric or ionization technology with a heat detector.
If there is a break in the current or the light beam, then the heat sensor kicks in to check for a threat.
This two-tier process helps the smoke detector determine exactly when to indicate that there is a threat, avoiding false alarms.
This smart technology means that combination smoke detectors usually do not get triggered by vaping.
Does Vaping Trigger Smoke Alarms In Hotel Rooms?
This depends largely on the hotel. Generally, vaping policies in hotels can vary widely.
Some hotels have a strict no-vaping policy, while others only allow you to vape in certain rooms. Some hotels may not even have a vaping policy at all.
It is always better to check with the hotel whether you are allowed to vape in the room or not.
Even if a hotel does not have a vaping policy in place, they may simply assume that you have been vaping in the room if you get caught. This could lead to a fine.
As a rule of thumb, the smoke alarms in hotel rooms are much more sensitive because they need to guarantee the safety of guests and staff.
This makes vaping with your e-cigarette in a hotel room without triggering the smoke alarm almost impossible.
Does Vaping Set Off The Smoke Alarm On A Plane?
Airlines only recently introduced vaping policies across their fleet to ensure the safety of their passengers.
Although some airports do sell vaping equipment, airlines do not allow you to use your vaping pen on the plane.
Fire alarms on a plane are extremely sensitive and you will face a fine if you are caught vaping or smoking anywhere on the plane.
Should You Ever Turn Off A Smoke Detector To Vape?
No, smoke detectors are crucial for fire safety, and they need to stay on at all times.
This is particularly important in public places where smoke alarms keep everyone in a building safe.
If you turn off a smoke detector to vape, you are not just putting everyone in the building at risk but you may also face a fine for violating the premises' fire safety regulations.
Is Vaping Less Of A Fire Risk Than Smoking?
Thousands of people die every year in house fires that were started by cigarette buds, matches, or lighters.
There are also some fire risks involved with vaping but they do not typically come from the vape itself.
Instead, the danger of harm lies with a possible explosion risk of the vaping pen. This has made the news across the world in recent years, and although these cases are rare, they should be considered when vaping.
However, the fire risk of the vape itself from using an e-cigarette is much lower than with the average nicotine cigarette.
The increased risk of malfunctioning vaping pens combined with the possible triggering of fire alarms means that it is best to vape outside.
How To Vape Without Triggering A Smoke Detector
It’s important to comply with any rules and regulations in public buildings and premises. If you are not allowed to vape, then you should not vape inside.
If you get caught vaping where you are not allowed to vape, you may risk a possible fine when you set off a fire alarm.
However, you may also find that there are places where you are allowed to vape inside and they do have a fire alarm.
This is when you need a few tips and tricks on making sure that your vaping doesn’t set off the fire alarm and the building doesn’t accidentally have to be evacuated.
Make sure that you never disable the fire alarm if you want to vape. It puts lives at risk and may also lead to a greater fine if you are caught.
Here are some easy things you can do to make sure that you can vape inside without setting off the nearest fire alarm.
Stay Away From The Smoke Alarm
This may be one of the most obvious tip but it works best. The further away you are from the fire alarm, the less likely the smoke is going to be detected.
In addition, it is also best to blow the vape smoke away from the fire alarm. This ensures that the smoke doesn’t even get near the alarm to set it off.
Keep A Window Open
The fresh air coming in through an open window will help to dissipate the smoke.
You can also blow the vapor outside through the window to make sure that the fire alarm isn’t triggered.
Use A Low Vapor Pen
Not every vaping pen is the same. Some devices put out more vapor than others. Ideally, you should also make sure that your device is low powered.
It’s also good to consider a higher resistance coil (above 1ohm). This will naturally create a much smaller vape cloud.
Use A High PG Liquid
This may be surprising but the e-liquid you use with your vaping pen also has an affect on how much vapor you put out.
Generally, e-liquids with a high VG (vegetable glycerin) content produce large clouds. This isn’t suitable for discreet vaping.
If you are opting for a low powered vaping device then you will also need a high PG (propylene glycol) liquid.
Vaping isn’t just a fashion trend but it is here to stay. Although it may look very similar to smoking, vaping doesn’t actually produce any smoke.
However, as smoke alarms are very sensitive devices, they pick up even the smallest changes in the air.
This can cause sensitive smoke detectors to send out a false alarm. The best way to avoid this is by keeping the vapor as far away from the smoke alarm as possible.
You can also keep a window open while you are vaping. This will help to mix the air in the room with the vape, so the fire alarm cannot detect it so easily.