Can Electronic Cigarettes Set Off Smoke Detectors?

In a recent article by E Cigarette Direct, they discussed whether or not electronic cigarettes do in fact set off fire alarms. It’s a big concern for many who may choose to stealth vape in areas that are otherwise ‘off limits’ to vaping or smoking.

 

In the article they discussed an incident where a passenger suffering from nicotine withdrawals chose to do a little stealth vaping in the planes toilets. Shortly after doing so, the planes fire alarms went off, causing the plane to make an emergency landing.

 

It is common to read that vapour from e cigarettes will not set off fire alarms, however, after this incident and many others shared online and in the media, many are naturally questioning whether or not this is in fact true.

 

It would seem, from the findings of the experiments taken out by the authors of the article, that some fire alarms are in fact vulnerable to vapour and some aren’t. Ionisation alarms are sensitive to vapour, as are optical alarms, whereas heat alarms (commonly used in the home) are not. The South Wales Fire And Rescue Service said that optical alarms are the most sensitive to vapour, however the experiment conducted by the articles author also indicated Ionisation alarms are as well.

 

So How Likely Is It Your Vapour Will Set Off A Fire Alarm?

 

According to the findings in the article, it would seem it’s very rare that vapour will in fact set off a fire alarm because vapour does not linger for long in the air like smoke and because fire alarms are predominantly designed to detect smoke, not vapour. The article also stated:

“The use of PG and flavourings is thought to create larger particles than the average steam from a kettle. And according to Ohio University, fog machines, which contain propylene glycol too, can also set off fire alarms.” – E Cigarette Direct

 

So basically there might always be a likelihood that your vaping could set off a fire alarm due to various factors, even if that risk is extremely low.

 

The article also looked at how safe it is to vape in a hotel room, and the findings proved that hotels may have alarms that are more sensitive than other establishments when it comes to vapour with many people on social media telling their stories of vaping and setting off alarms, causing them to pay fines. In relation to planes, the issue is much more extreme as the fire alarms on planes are super sensitive. In the article it was clear vaping on a plane was not a good idea:

 

“Some people have spent a night in jail for using an e-cig on Qatar Airways. That was an extreme example, but you could easily have your e-cig confiscated, have to pay a hefty fine or even be added to a no-fly list. In the UK you are not allowed to vape on most trains or buses either (an exception is South Eastern Railways).”

 

So generally, whether or not vaping does set off fire alarms is still a bit of a mystery unless you’re completely educated on different types of alarms and the type of vapour you are omitting. General advice would be to avoid vaping in hotels and other establishments if told to do so. Alternatively look for hotels that accept vaping in their premises. With planes – it’s probably best to avoid vaping altogether. Setting off the fire alarm on a plane can have disastrous consequences so it really isn’t worth risking it for a few cheeky inhales in the loo.