Can Vaping Set Off Your Smoke Detectors

Many might wonder if vaping set off your smoke detectors. Which is a good question. If you’ve been among those wondering, then you are at the right place. This guide focuses on answering your question, can vaping set off smoke detectors? Read through this guide, and find out for yourself.

What Is Vaping?

Vaping is the inhaling of a vapor created by an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or other vaping devices.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered smoking devices. They have cartridges filled with a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and chemicals. The liquid is heated into a vapor, which the person inhales. That’s why using e-cigarettes is called “vaping.” Usually, the solution contains nicotine. The aim is to provide the sensation of inhaling tobacco smoke, without the smoke.

These devices have various names, including e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, vaporizer cigarettes, vapes, and vape pens.

They come in a range of shapes. Some look like USB drives and others look like pens, for example.

Manufacturers market e-cigarettes as tools for quitting or cutting down on smoking, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) class them as tobacco products.

How they work

Most e-cigarettes are made up of the following parts:

The mouthpiece: This is a cartridge fixed to the end of a tube. Inside is a small plastic cup containing absorbent material soaked in a liquid solution.

The atomizer: This heats the liquid, causing it to vaporize so that a person can inhale it.

The battery: This powers the heating element.

The sensor: This activates the heater when the user sucks on the device.

The solution: E-liquid, or e-juice, contains a combination of nicotine, a base, which is usually propylene glycol, and flavoring.

When the user sucks on the mouthpiece, the heating element vaporizes the solution, which the person then “vapes,” or inhales. The nicotine content of the liquid can range from “very high” to zero.

Flavors vary widely, from “traditional” and menthol to watermelon and “lava flow.” Some e-cigarettes taste like traditional cigarettes and even mimic the tastes of specific brands.

What are Smoke Detectors?

Smoke detectors are an important part of safety in a home, as these fire-protection devices will automatically detect and warn you of the presence of smoke and can save your life in the event of a fire. While it can be easy to forget to check and test smoke alarms on a regular basis, it is important to ensure that they are not only properly maintained but also correctly installed.

How do Smoke Detectors Work?

Since smoke rises, smoke detectors are always placed on the roof for ideal detection. There are two common types of smoke detectors to choose from: photoelectric and ionization. Photoelectric sensors use a beam of light within the detector to sense any smoke in the air.

The beam will shoot in a straight line when the air is clear. In the presence of smoke, the light will scatter, this is when the alarm will go off. Ionization detectors, on the other hand, use a chamber with a small electrical current. When smoke enters the chamber and the level of ions in the air changes, the electrical current drops and the alarm will sound.

Each function is beneficial in different instances and because of this, one is not necessarily better than the other. It is, however, recommended to have one of each of these functions on each floor of your home and in high-risk areas, such as the kitchen or near fireplaces and heating appliances.

What types of smoke alarms are there?

There are two types of smoke alarms:


  • Detects fast, flaming fires.
  • Detects smoke produced by flammable liquids, loosely packed light combustibles, and kitchen grease.


  • Detects slow burning, smouldering types of fires.
  • Detects smoke caused by cigarettes burning in furnishings and bedding.


These work by ionising the air in the space between two plates which are electrically charged. The air particles in this space are monitored, and should smoke, (or any substance perceived as being denser than usual), disrupt the electric current then the alarm will be triggered. These are less likely to react to someone vaping than photoelectric smoke detectors


You need to disrupt the beams of light around it to trigger the alarm. This is the most common type of smoke alarm, and the most sensitive to the vapour from an e-cigarette, which can sometimes break the light beam just as smoke would.

What type of smoke detector should I get?

All smoke and fire alarms provide protection, but the type of protection that you receive depends on the type of fire alarm that you purchase.

Along with the various types of smoke and fire alarms available on the market, there are also several types of sensors available that all serve different purposes including: ionic smoke detector, photoelectric smoke alarm, and even a combination of the two.

They all serve different purposes and the type of smoke and fire alarm needed depends on the type of fire you are looking to protect against. The ionic sensor works by ionizing the air and causing a current to flow between the plates; when any type of smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the current and the alarm will go off to inform homeowners that smoke is sensed.

The ionic sensors respond quickest to fast and quick burning fires that can rapidly damage the property. The photoelectric sensor works by reflecting a light into the chamber, opposite of the sensor. If any smoke enters the chamber, it reflects the light back at the sensor, causing the alarm to sound.

The photoelectric sensor provides maximum prevention against slow burning and smoldering fires. There is a large difference between slow burning and quick burning fires and since no one knows what type of fire may occur, the best protection is provided through a dual sensor smoke detector. A dual sensor effectively detects all fires regardless of its burn rate.


The short answer is yes, it can. Modern smoke detectors are more sensitive than older models because smoking indoors is prohibited in most public buildings today. Since cigarette smoke no longer swirls in the hallways, today’s detectors are designed with greater sensitivity so they can sense a developing fire as fast as possible.

However, while it’s possible to set off a fire alarm by smoking, reports of such incidents are rare. After all, the smoke from a single cigarette is minimal and dissipates into the air quickly.

That being said, it’s highly recommended that you only smoke outdoors. According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoking materials—including cigarettes, cigars, and pipes—ignited an estimated 17,200 homes in 2014.

These fires resulted in 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries, and $426 million in property damage. When you smoke outdoors, there isn’t a chance of accidentally igniting your bedding or carpet, and you can safely wet the butts and dispose of them in an outside garbage can.

Vaping Can Set Off A Smoke Detector

Yes, vaping can set off a smoke detector. The detectors of today are far more sensitive than they were back in the days of indoor cigarette smoking, and they can detect particles in the air more easily.

There are three main types of smoke alarms: the optical smoke alarm, which is triggered by particles scattering infrared light onto a light detector; the ionization smoke alarm, which goes off when particles interfere with a current travelling between two charged plates; and the dual-sensor smoke alarm, which combines the other two options into one unit. It could be smoke, vapour from your mod, or the steam from a hot shower: any particle interference in the sensors could trigger a smoke detector.

It’s not that simple, though. While cigarette smoke can set off an alarm, it would rarely happen because the smoke from a single cigarette dissipates into the air pretty quickly. The same can be said for a vape, and taking a hit in a room by yourself isn’t likely to set off a detector because it would evaporate long before the vapour reaches the sensor.

You could still trigger an alarm if you’re standing directly beneath it or you intentionally blow the cloud right into the unit. As well, heavy vaping or multiple people vaping at the same time could set off a smoke detector.


Despite vapour not being an official trigger for smoke detector there are times when this may happen anyhow.

To ensure the safety and comfort of both yourself and others, follow these tips if you’re vaping indoors:

  • take extra care when vaping indoors and choose a room with good ventilation
  • Avoid using an e-cigarette very close to a smoke or fire alarm
  • save creating dense clouds of vapour for spaces where you can do that without any concerns


With the above guide, you have your question answered, as we promised. With the above information, you know now, not to vape indoors, if you must, make sure to keep the windows open to allow for swift ventilation.