The Truth About Vaping and Smoke Alarms


A possible best-case scenario could be that you set off an alarm and create a loud disturbance. At worst, you could cause a public scene, which might result in the fire services coming out to your location.


You should try to avoid vaping in prohibited areas, and follow guidelines where they are provided. At home in your own space is a different matter. It can be useful to know the truth about vaping and smoke alarms - including how they work and why they’re important for fire safety purposes.


In this guide, we’ll break down the science behind smoke alarms and vaping, and provide solutions that will help users make informed decisions about their fire safety.


Do Vapes Set Off Smoke Alarms?

Depending on the smoke detector, some are designed to detect smoke or fire in a home residence or building. However, there are some alarms that are triggered by other factors including dust, steam and aerosol sprays.


Because some alarms detect vapours, it’s possible that vape devices can set off smoke detectors. If a smoke alarm can detect these specific particles, a false alarm can be triggered. Before you vape in public, make sure to check that it’s not prohibited and, if you’re able to, inspect your home detectors to help prevent false alarms.


Which Smoke Alarms Are Set Off by Vaping?

As a vaper, there are few detectors to be aware of as some are more susceptible to false alarms than others. Below, we’ve listed some of the different types of smoke and heat alarms, and how they work.


Optical alarms


Optical alarms are a very particular type of detector. They work by beaming infrared light. When smoke enters the alarm, the particles scatter the infrared light onto a light detector which triggers the alarm. If the vapour is thick enough, vapes can set off optical alarms.


Heat alarms


As the name suggests, these types of alarms detect heat. You’ll usually find them in kitchens and other heated areas. With this type of alarm, vapers are less likely to trigger it.


Ionisation alarms:


This alarm is sensitive to small smoke particles. It has two electrically charged radioactive plates which means when triggered, the smoke particles set off the electricity between the plates. It’s not often vaping will set off these types of alarms.


How to Vape Without Setting Off Smoke/Fire Alarms

It’s important to be aware of the potential for setting off alarms when it comes to vaping and smoke detectors. Here are some practical tips for users to minimise the risk of setting off both public and at-home smoke alarms.


Different types of vapes can produce different amounts of vapour. This means that some vapes are more prone to setting off alarms compared to others. No matter what kind of vape you have, there are some basic rules to follow on how to vape without setting off the smoke alarm.

Vape at lower temperatures

Blow vapour out of a window

Clean and take care of your vape often

When you clean your vape, you’re less likely to damage the heating element and battery. A well-taken care of vapes produce a cleaner vapour which can help prevent setting off smoke alarms.


Depending on your location, there may be different policies put in place that tell you when and where you can use your vape. It’s important for organisations to effectively communicate their policy on vaping and smoking and how it affects users and bystanders alike. There are a few common places that prohibit vape usage altogether (unless specifically stated).


A few places include:


Bars and pubs

Public transportation (planes, trains and buses)


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