When I went to my brother’s wedding in Los Angeles (I live in New York City), I knew that the seven hours flight would be a long time. What I wasn’t prepared for was my agonizing nicotine withdrawal during that time. What made it even worse is that it was a non-stop flight, and you’re not allowed to vape (or smoke cigarettes for that matter) once you set foot into the airport. It’s simply not allowed. There were signs that showed smokers were allowed to go outside and vape...but that meant you’d have to go ALL the way back through security once you’d finished your vape sesh. I decided against it for the sake of convenience, but boy, was I tempted to sneak into the bathrooms and take a quick hit. Thankfully I didn’t, because apparently those bathrooms are extremely sensitive to vapor! One passenger tried to vape on Southwestern Airlines’ Flight 3564 and ended up forcing the plane to make an emergency landing! Not the best way to start off your vacation! You can read more about that story here, but for now, let’s check out the rest of the alarms you can set off, as well as places you really shouldn’t vape in!
REGULAR SMOKE ALARMS
It’s a bit of a controversy that vapor from an e-cig or box mod can cause a normal smoke alarm to go off. I can tell you from personal experience that it can absolutely go off and it’s not pleasant. I blew vapor from my vape directly into a smoke alarm and was greeted with one of the harshest most annoying sounds you’ll ever experience. The ear-shattering shriek from the smoke alarm had me smothering it with a pillow just to get some relief. The shrill alarm from that smoke detector went on for a good couple of seconds, but it felt like hours because the damn thing wouldn’t shut up! If you are going to vape in a room that you know has a smoke detector, be careful. As long as you don’t blow your clouds directly in the smoke detector’s direction, you should be fine. However, if there are multiple people vaping in a single room, the volume of clouds may trigger the smoke detector to go off, even if you’re several feet away from it. If you’re in a hotel, their alarms may be more sensitive due to the protection of the guests. And if you’re in a plane, remember that the airplane bathrooms are extremely small. The space and time it would take the vapor to travel becomes much more compact, and would most definitely be a risk you shouldn’t take.
TYPES OF SMOKE ALARMS
Smoke alarms have been designed to resist false alarms, but sometimes cooking in your kitchen or blowing vapor from your cloud-chasing endeavours might cause these alarms to start blaring incessantly. We’ll look at three different types of smoke alarms, some of which you may be familiar with. The first is an optical alarm, the one most likely to be triggered if you vape around it. . An optical alarm works with beams of infrared light. If smoke particles travel into this alarm, these particles disrupt the infrared light and scatter it onto a light detector. Once this happens, an alarm is triggered. I haven’t had experience with many of these types of alarms, but it’s worth mentioning in case that’s the type your household uses. The next type of smoke alarm is the ionisation alarm. This particular alarm utilizes two radioactive plates that are electrically charged. If smoke particles happen to pass through this type of alarm, the particles disturb the electricity that moves between the two radioactive plates. Once that electricity is disrupted, the alarm goes off. The last alarm we’ll talk about is more often seen in your kitchen: the heat alarm. When you’re cooking, especially with a frying pan, you may have occasionally set off your alarm. Even if there isn’t a lot of smoke, these detectors are designed to go off when the temperature of a room changes drastically. For the most part, this type of smoke detector won’t go off just because of vapor, as it’s designed to detect heat and not smoke.
SHOULD I BE CONCERNED THAT MY VAPE CAN SET OFF A FIRE ALARM?
Fire alarms are different than smoke alarms, but should still be taken seriously when you’re vaping. It’s been discovered that fog machines that use PG (propylene glycol) can set off fire alarms. PG is one of the main ingredients in vape juice! While fog machines undoubtedly send out much larger quantities of vapor than your vape device can, it’s still worth noting that vapor, not smoke, can set off a fire alarm. Since vapor dissipates quite a bit faster than smoke, you shouldn’t have anything to stress about, but it’s good to be aware.
CAN I VAPE IN A HOTEL ROOM?
This is a tricky question, as many hotels have different policies about vaping. If you’re in a room that allows smoking, you should be okay to vape (again, vape clouds dissipate quicker than smoke does). But if the hotel specifically forbids vaping, a quick trip to the lobby and out the front doors should be no more than a five minute trip. Many hotels don’t have a policy about vaping, which means you might very well be allowed to vape peacefully in your room. If you’re concerned about setting off alarms, you can always open a window, vape in the bathroom, or simply wait to exit the hotel to get your vape fix. Be mindful of where the smoke alarm is, as hotel smoke alarms are usually much more sensitive than residential smoke detectors. Better yet, if you have a nic-salt pod or pen-style vape, these devices often emit very small and discrete amounts of vapor. You should be able to use those without a problem.
CAN I VAPE IN A PLANE BATHROOM?
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, it might be sorely tempting to use the bathroom on a plane to stave off your nicotine cravings. However, fire alarms and smoke detectors are extremely sensitive due to the dangerous nature of flying. Is your nicotine craving worth causing an emergency landing, getting hefty fines, or even thrown in jail? The internet is full of stories about people who thought they could bend the rules because it suited them. Don’t be another headline about why vaping should be banned completely. Wherever you’re going, you can wait until you’ve safely exited the airport to get that delicious first puff in. Some airlines offer vaporless devices for those who need that kick of nicotine, but for the most part, vaping in airports is difficult, forbidden, and frustrating. Vaping might seem like it’s the most important thing in the world when you’re in the throes of a nicotine craving, but I promise you’ll enjoy it more once you’ve safely arrived at your destination.
And that ends our delightful stroll through the questions surrounding vaping and smoke/fire alarms. If you have any questions about anything mentioned in the article, we’re available through email and phone calls. Do you have a funny story about when you desperately needed to vape? Perhaps you know someone foolish enough to try to get around these rules and got caught! Let us know your stories in the comment below! For the most part, vapers are considerate of the rules and regulations. We understand that vaping is an enjoyable privilege with many rules and regulations (because at the end of the day, it is a nicotine product). But until the world understands more about vaping, we’ll have to be patient with these rules and regulations as best as we can. Check in with us for our next article, where we’ll discuss the term “secondhand vapor” and what that actually is! Until then, happy vaping! May your tank always be full of delicious flavor and may your clouds always be delicious and puffy!