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Can Smoke Detector Detect Vape? Get the Facts

October 22, 2023

E-cigarettes, also known as vapes or vaporizers, have become increasingly popular alternatives to traditional smoking. However, concerns have arisen about whether these devices can set off smoke alarms, leading to potential disruptions and false alarms. So, can smoke detector detect vape? In this blog, we will delve into the relationship between e-cigarettes and smoke alarms, explore the types of fire alarms that are susceptible to vapor, assess the likelihood of e-cigarettes triggering alarms, and provide tips on how to avoid setting off smoke alarms while vaping.

Can e-cigarettes set off smoke alarms?


Can a smoke detector detect vape? The truth is E-cigarettes have the potential to set off smoke alarms due to their vapor production. Smoke alarms are designed to detect particles in the air commonly associated with smoke from burning materials. While e-cigarettes produce vapor rather than smoke, certain types of smoke alarms, especially those sensitive to airborne particles, can still be triggered by the dense vapor emitted during vaping.



The likelihood of setting off smoke alarms varies depending on the sensitivity of the alarm, the amount of vapor produced, and the proximity of the vapor to the detector.  However, it's difficult to know whether a particular smoke alarm is sensitive to e-cigarette vapor or not, so it's always better to err on the side of caution and avoid vaping near smoke alarms.


What types of fire alarms are susceptible to vapor?


There are different types of fire alarms, and some are more susceptible to vapor than others. The three main types of fire alarms are:


Ionization alarm

Ionization alarms are more sensitive to detecting smaller smoke particles, which can be produced by certain types of e-cigarettes. Vapor from e-cigarettes may cause ionization alarms to go off if the vapor particles are similar in size to smoke particles.


Optical alarm (also known as photoelectric alarm)

Optical alarms use a beam of light to detect changes in the air caused by smoke particles. While these alarms are less likely to be triggered by steam or vapor, they can still be susceptible to false alarms. This is because optical alarms rely on changes in the air's density, which can also be affected by steam or vapor.


Thermal alarm (also known as heat alarm)

Thermal alarms are less likely to be susceptible to false alarms caused by steam or vapor. These alarms detect changes in temperature and are less affected by changes in air density. However, it's important to note that thermal alarms are not as sensitive as ionization or optical alarms, which means they may take longer to detect a fire.


How likely is your e-cigarette to set off a fire alarm?


The likelihood of an e-cigarette setting off a fire alarm depends on several factors, including the sensitivity of the alarm, the amount of vapor produced, and the proximity of the vapor to the alarm. In general, newer smoke alarms tend to be more sensitive, increasing the chances of them being triggered by vapor. However, the vast majority of e-cigarette users do not experience their devices setting off smoke alarms.


How to smoke without setting off the alarm

While it's challenging to guarantee that your e-cigarette won't trigger a smoke alarm, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk:


Stay away from smoke alarms


When vaping, try to position yourself away from smoke alarms to reduce the chances of triggering them. Be mindful of the location of the nearest smoke alarm and maintain a safe distance while using your e-cigarette.


Open the window


If possible, open a window to improve ventilation and allow the vapor to dissipate quickly. This can help reduce the concentration of vapor near the smoke alarm.


Use low-power devices


High-powered e-cigarettes may produce more vapor, increasing the likelihood of setting off smoke alarms. Using low-power devices with reduced vapor output can help minimize this risk.


 Use high PG oil


  • liquidslike Fresh Redwith a higher propylene glycol (PG) content tend to produce less dense vapor, which is less likely to trigger smoke alarms compared to e-liquids with high vegetable glycerin (VG) content 
  • Avoid smoking in small spaces


    Vaping in small, confined spaces can lead to a higher concentration of vapor near smoke alarms. Whenever possible, choose larger, well-ventilated areas for vaping.


    Blow down steam


    After taking a puff, exhale the vapor downwards instead of upwards. Blowing the vapor away from smoke alarms may reduce the chances of triggering them.




    In conclusion, the question "can smoke detector detect vape?" has been a subject of concern for vapers and fire safety. While e-cigarettes can potentially set off smoke alarms, the likelihood of this happening is relatively low for most users.


    By adopting simple precautions, such as staying away from smoke alarms, opening windows for ventilation, and using low-power devices, vapers can effectively minimize the risk of triggering fire alarms. Understanding the relationship between vaping and smoke detectors is vital for ensuring a safe and enjoyable vaping experience without unnecessary disruptions.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Can Smoke Detector Detect Vape?


    Can you vape in a hotel room?


    Vaping policies vary from one hotel to another. Some hotels may have designated smoking areas, while others may prohibit smoking, including vaping, altogether. It's essential to check the hotel's rules and regulations regarding smoking and vaping before doing so in your room.


    Will your e-cig set off a smoke detector in a plane?


    In general, modern aircraft are equipped with sensitive smoke detectors designed to detect potential hazards quickly. Vaping is prohibited on most commercial flights, and attempting to use an e-cigarette in the cabin could set off the smoke detector and lead to severe consequences. It is crucial to follow the airline's rules and refrain from vaping during the flight.


    Will vape set off smoke alarm in the hospital?


    Hospitals typically have strict no-smoking policies, which often include e-cigarettes and vaping devices. Smoke alarms in hospitals are usually designed to be highly sensitive to detect even the smallest traces of smoke or vapor. Vaping in a hospital setting is not only likely to set off smoke alarms but is also disrespectful to patients, staff, and other visitors. Always comply with hospital regulations and refrain from vaping within the hospital premises.

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