Can Vaping Set off Fire Alarm/Smoke Detectors?

Okay, so you vape. Likely, you’ve pulled out your vape pen somewhere, and immediately someone has warned you to be careful or you’ll set off the smoke alarm. 

So, is this true? Can your e-cigarette set off a fire alarm or smoke detector? 

Well, it really depends on how the fire alarms are set.

Since many fire alarms and smoke detectors can be extremely sensitive to both heat and smoke, vapor can set them off even though it’s not actual smoke (it’s more like steam). 

Fire detection systems not only detect heat but are also designed to detect tiny airborne smoke particles. Unfortunately, vapor qualifies as small airborne particles, which can accidentally set off smoke alarms. 

Incidents of vapor triggering false alarms have happened – the good thing is, occurrences of this are rare. 

So perhaps, this is more fiction than fact!

In this article, we’ll look at different groups of buildings (e.g., offices, hotels, etc.) to give you a rough idea of alarm sensitivity in these locations. From this, you can decide if you ought to heed those pesky warnings.

Are There Certain Places Where Fire Alarms Are More Sensitive to Vaping?

Yes and no. 

We know that’s not the most concrete answer, but it’s the best we’ve got.

Every building is different, and there are many kinds of alarms on the market – it’s generally up to the management to determine the type and sensitivity of their alarm system. For example, some types of places (like hotels) set their alarms to more sensitive levels. 

Let’s look at each type of place and see what it takes to set off the smoke alarms. 

Vaping in Hotels  

Honestly, your best bet is going to a hotel that allows smoking e-cigarettes in the first place. 

If the hotel allows smoking cigarettes in their rooms, you can likely vape in the same room. Odds are, the modern fire alarms in these hotel rooms detect smoke and/or heat from actual fires, but not vapor (or cigarette smoke). 

The exception to this may depend on how much vapor is in the air – if you’re a cloud chaser chain vaping in your hotel room, you’re likely going to blow clouds of excess particles, which could set off the alarm. 

If you insist on going to a hotel that forbids e-cigs and then proceed to vape anyhow, there could be harsh consequences if you set off a false alarm. 

Depending on the hotel’s system, it may automatically call the fire department when it’s triggered. You probably do not want to be responsible for bringing a fire truck to the front door – you’ll likely incur stiff fines and be asked to vacate the premises.

Try to avoid hotels with strict rules about smoking or vaping, and you shouldn’t have a problem.

Vaping in Offices

In office buildings, the sensitivity settings on smoke/heat alarms vary greatly. However, an important thing to note is that most employers and building managers forbid cigarette smoking AND vaping indoors. 

So the short answer is yes, in offices, electronic cigarettes can set off the fire alarm/smoke detector.

Although there is a distinct difference between cigarette smoke and vapor, most employers ban both inside their buildings.

If you vape in the restroom of an office building, you will very likely set off the smoke alarm. Again, there will be consequences to this – if you work in the building, you could face disciplinary action; if you don’t, you could find yourself banned from the premises.

Most office buildings have specific outdoor areas for smoking where you’re permitted to use your vape device.

Vaping in Other Public Buildings

When referring to ‘other public buildings,’ we mean places like restaurants, grocery and retail stores, shopping malls, etc. 

And most likely, the answer is yes; smoking an e-cig can set off a smoke or heat alarm. 

Once again, most of these places ban smoking and vaping inside the premises, and many of them have sensitive alarm systems to help detect it.

Even in many facilities that permit vaping, it is highly restricted to specific areas. If you vape outside of these designated areas, you’re likely to set off smoke detectors. 

The alarms in such places are typically set to detect excess particles, so vapor probably would set them off.

Where Can You Enjoy Vaping?

As discussed, most places that ban smoking and vaping inside usually have designated outdoor spaces for these purposes. You should use these areas when you want to enjoy your vape, and don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of company out there.

Don’t think you will fool anyone by vaping inside restricted areas – just because an e-cig emits vapor doesn’t mean you can simply blow it anywhere you like. It will probably set off the fire alarm (and sprinklers), and you’ll be in some kind of trouble.

Of course, you can certainly vape in your own home. So far, nobody is allowed to tell you otherwise. 

Could vaping set off your own smoke detectors? It’s a possibility, but you can always adjust your system so as not to be so sensitive – then you can go ahead and vape away!