Can Your Electronic Cigarette Set Off a Smoke Detector?

One of the most noticeable differences between e cigarettes and their tobacco counterparts is that the electronic devices do not emit smoke. Instead, the “smoke” that is created is actually a cloud of vapour. The question then arises that if one is used indoors, on an aeroplane or in any other place where there is a smoke detector, will it be triggered by vaping?
Know Your Fire Alarms
The answer to this question is yes, a smoke detector can be set off by vaping, and there are some that are more sensitive than others. A detector may also be triggered by bigger clouds of vapour yet not react to smaller ones, so if you do take the risk try to keep your cloud-chasing to a minimum.
There are three common types of smoke detector that are generally in use, and some of these are more susceptible to being triggered by an electronic cigarette than others.
Heat Alarms
Often found in commercial kitchens, these alarms are not sensitive to vapour and are unlikely to detect it, as they respond to increased temperatures rather than smoke.
Ionisation Alarms
These alarms are sensitive to small smoke particles and could well be triggered by vaping. Utilising two radioactive plates that are electrically charged, ionisation alarms are triggered when smoke disrupts this charge and interferes with the dynamics of the detector.
Optical Alarms
These alarms are commonly found in a number of commercial establishments and are the most likely to be triggered by vaping. They rely on infrared light beams that need to remain uninterrupted, so when smoke or vapour crosses the beam it becomes fractured and the alarm is activated.
Vaping Without Causing Alarm
Reported incidents of electronic cigarettes setting off smoke detectors are rare, but it’s always best to avoid using your device if you are unsure. This is especially true if you are flying or in a hotel, as the repercussions for vaping could be dire, and the alarms used in these environments are often incredibly sensitive.
Vaping doesn’t have to create large clouds of smoke, and there are ways to reduce the viscosity of the vapour you exhale. This can also ensure that the chances of setting off an alarm are reduced, and we suggest that you learn more about stealth-vaping if you plan to use your electronic cigarette in the vicinity of a smoke detector.