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How Do Different Types of Smoke Alarms React to Vapour?

While vaping is far more socially acceptable than cigarettes, there are still some places where you should avoid vaping, not only for the sake of other people's comfort but for policies as well. For instance, you might be tempted to vape in a restaurant. But of course, unless it is actively permitted, you should not be doing so for the sake of others. After all, you don't want to be rude to others trying to enjoy their meals. And plus, there's a no-smoking sign on the wall, and what that generally means is that you shouldn't vape either.

In either case, along with all of that, you might've noticed a couple of smoke alarms to reinforce the no-smoking zone. However, this begs the question: does vape set off smoke alarms? After all, these alarms are built to detect smoke, not vapour, right? Well, let's talk about that.

Can Vaping Set Off Smoke Alarms?

Smoke alarms are built to pick up on potential risks, so you can feel comfortable taking a few hits on your vaping product. Most sensors will detect the vapour, but they will recognise only small amounts and not set off the alarm.

However, be mindful that the smoke detector in your office could be more sensitive than usual. Even worse, you could face the consequences if you use a vape in a public area, especially if you're using a sub-ohm vape device. Remember, sub-ohm vape devices are designed to create much denser, larger clouds than regular devices. A few puffs on a vape pen might not set off your smoke alarm, but a sub-ohm vape definitely will.

How Do Different Types of Smoke Alarms React to Vapor?

Some alarms are designed to be more sensitive to smoke than others, and here are a couple of examples:

1. Optical Smoke Alarms

Optical alarms are a type of smoke detector that operates by detecting the presence of smoke particles, which scatter light from an infrared LED light source. These alarms use a pulsed light beam in a chamber inside the alarm, which is illuminated every ten seconds to check for the presence of smoke particles.

And, as you know, vapour can scatter light and, as such, can trigger this kind of smoke alarm.

2. Ionisation Smoke Alarms

An ionisation alarm is equipped with two electrically charged plates with a small amount of radioactive material wedged between them. This material creates ions in the air, and when the ions move between the two plates, an electrical current is generated. If any smoke or vapour enters the chamber, the ions are disrupted, and the current flow is thrown off balance. As a result, the alarm is triggered.

Of the alarms we're talking about today, this type of alarm is the one that's most likely to go off if it detects vapour.

3. Heat Alarms

Heat alarms are designed to be sensitive to heat rather than smoke. Inside the alarm is a thermistor, a kind of sensor, which is triggered when the temperature rises above a certain threshold, usually 136°F. Heat alarms are particularly useful in kitchens, as they won't go off when cooking fumes are present.

On that note, because heat alarms rely on heat, they're least likely to go off, if at all, when you vape.


So, there you have it. Depending on what kind of alarm you're dealing with, it may or may not go off. Either way, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and you should always only vape in areas that are designated for smoking or in the comfort of your home. These are the best places as you won't have to worry about anyone intruding on your vaping session, let alone have an alarm ruin your day!

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