What Are Vape Detectors [& How to Avoid Triggering Them]

Honestly, it was just a matter of time before these burst into the scene. With e-cigarettes and vaping on the rise; parents of teens freaking out, and school administrators waging a war against a handful of high school kids that vape in school bathroom stalls, I’m kinda sorry I didn’t event them. I’d be raking in millions right now.

My cursed luck to the side, if you’re a vaper using e-juice vape pens (or THC and CBD cartridges), these little devices might soon become the bane of your existence.

So if you live in a state that bans indoor vaping, these devices can be very frustrating. And while I definitely don’t want to encourage you to break the law (the fine is yours alone to pay), it’s good to have an idea about how these vape detection devices work; where you can find them usually, and what sets them off. As well as what devices you can use to avoid them…

So let’s get into it.

What Are Vape Detectors?
The idea behind vape detectors is that they’re supposed to be the early detection system for when someone is vaping where they shouldn’t be vaping.

Think smoke detectors but targeting vapor and e-cigarettes.

But, there’s one key difference here…

Smoke detectors are designed to alert everyone in the vicinity that smoke (and carbon monoxide) has been detected because… well, fires, right? I want those to make one heck of a noise, thank you very much.

Devices designed for vape detection don’t work that way. 

Their sensors are designed to pick up chemical changes in the air (either picking up on nicotine or similar particles), and then silently alert anyone who’s responsible for enforcing the no-vaping policy.

There are a lot of different types of vape detection gimmicks out there — some using singular sensors or multi-sensor tech, others using optical alarms and other environmental sensors. Some of them use completely new technology and settings, and you can fiddle with their settings so they’re connected to the internet and alert your phone when triggered (or to send data to the sensor company).

In any case, these sensors actually work… unlike smoke detection sensors that you needed to blow on point-blank in order to get them to pick up vapor.

Where Are Vape Detectors Usually Installed?
At this point in time, they are mostly in schools around the country — high schools, middle schools, and other school property.

School administrators are spending thousands and thousands of dollars to kit school property such as bathrooms and locker rooms in these so as to prevent young people and underage school kids from vaping. 

Why Are Vape Detectors Installed in Schools?
If you ask me, this is all a waste of money because kids who want to vape — vape. And are smart enough to exhale through their t-shirt, inside a flushing toilet… or simply do it next to an open window. (I’m glad they’re smart like that — at least our education system is churning out decent students).

Kidding aside, while we don’t have an underage vaping epidemic on our hands, there is a problem with kids vaping. The better way to go about it would be to double down on educating kids on the harms of smoking (and vaping), then wasting all this money on repressive systems that curb the autonomy of adults. Unfortunately, ‘experts’ are brought in by various school districts who don’t agree with me so we’re left with schools that light up with alarms blaring every time someone sprays a disinfectant in the bathroom.

That said, I’ve been noticing an uptick in vape detectors in places such as hotel rooms, commercial buildings, grocery stores, convenience stores, and other different places such as semi-open spaces in malls and similar.

This is especially true for states that have banned indoor vaping, so you’ll often see signs forbidding vaping in various commercial buildings, as well as vape detection devices set up.

Can You Vape Around Vape Detectors Without Setting Them Off?
Well… you can. But you shouldn’t.

Especially if this means vaping in or around schools.

Every place where there’s a vape detector installed will likely enforce that policy. However, there are places that have smoke detectors installed where vaping is allowed. So consider the following advice in that particular context.

#1 Blow Away from the Detector
Kind of an obvious one, isn’t it?

If you suspect a smoke detector in the vicinity, and there’s no ‘Vaping Forbidden’ sign around, look at the ceilings to figure out the placement. If this is in your office for example (and you’re allowed to vape there), make sure that your desk isn’t directly below a device.

#2 Open the Window
Again an obvious one… but windows are your friend. Blow the vapor outside the window – it will dissipate more easily without triggering those pesky smoke (or vape detectors).

# 3Exhale Through Your Clothes
If you’re in real stealth vape mode, try exhaling through your clothes.

Fabric will catch some of the particles of vapor and help them disperse before they travel en masse to the ceiling and trigger a detection device. Note that this isn’t a foolproof method – some vape detectors can catch tiny chemical particles, and your clothes can’t help you there.

#4 Use a High PG E-Liquid
High VG e-liquids produce larger clouds of vapor and isn’t your best friend if you’re going for discreet vaping. High PG produces a lot less vapor — it’s not as billowy or dense, so there’s a lower chance it will trigger a smoke detector.

#5 Use a Discreet Device
Instead of high-power sub-ohm devices, you should consider switching to pod vapes or vape pens when vaping where you shouldn’t be vaping. These devices produce a lot less vapor… and you might be able to get away with them in places where stealth is of the essence.

When In Doubt, Follow Vape-Free Policies
Honestly, there isn’t much point in gaming the system that’s rigged against vapers.

Circumventing vape bans isn’t a game you want to play as an adult vaper — simply vape outside where it’s permitted. Getting caught vaping where there are detectors for electronic cigarettes — so it’s obviously forbidden — will only earn you a fine… and it earns all vapers everywhere a bad rep.