Can your vaping device set off a smoke detector?

Anyone who vapes knows that this healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes does not produce smoke, but vapor. This is the reason why some places let you vape inside. Though some still ask the question, can my vape set off a smoke alarm? First instinct says no, why would it? It does not produce any smoke. It has happened on the rare occasion though, which begs the question of why, when no smoke is produced.

To fully answer the question one must find out more about smoke detectors to see if that may be the reason.

There is more than one type of smoke detector that is commonly used today, optical smoke alarms and ionization smoke alarms. Some systems even use both of these technologies.

Optical smoke detectors are pretty much just light sensors. Beams of light are used to detect smoke particles in the air. If there is smoke in the air, the smoke will travel into the optical detector and it will block off the infrared rays inside the chamber of the detector. When the detector senses the particles that are blocking the rays, it will then trigger the alarm. This type of alarm seems more likely to be a type that may be set off by a vaping device. The other type of smoke detector commonly used is the ionization smoke detector. These are the types typically used in households. This type of smoke detector uses a radioisotope to create ionization in the air. Smoke particles in the air will block the ionization and travel into the chamber of the smoke detector, thus sounding the alarm. This type of alarm seems less likely to be set off by a vaping device because it typically requires real smoke to set it off.


After looking at the types of smoke detectors, it is time to look at the vaping device itself. Since vapes do not produce any smoke, just vapor, it seems unlikely that the vape would be the cause of a smoke alarm going off.


With as rarely as it happens, it’s probably safe to say that vapes setting off smoke alarms depends on what type of detector is present. The chances of setting off an ionization detector is very low, but setting off an optical detector would be easier and more common. So to answer the question will a vape device set off a smoke alarm? Usually, no. It is possible though, depending on the detector type.

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