Vaping has become a popular way for nicotine or cannabis users to get their fix. Vapes are marketed as safer for the user and bystanders, but this is not necessarily true. Addictive substances are dangerous regardless of delivery method or manner of exposure. So, is there a way to know when and whether someone is vaping at home? Who should have a vape detector at home, and why?
Is there a Vape Detector for Home Use?
Yes. There are several detectors capable of monitoring and detecting the use of vape products in the home. Any PM2.5 detector can serve as an excellent vape detector. Detectors with this technology can readily detect particles in the air smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, which include vaporized e-juice. Many are widely available for purchase at a relatively low cost and are easy to install and use at home.
Who Should Have a Vape Detector in Their Home?
Many people can benefit from having a vape detector in their homes.
- Parents need vape detectors to help monitor their children’s exposure. Parents of young children should monitor the quality of the air their children are exposed to. Parents of teens and young adults need a way to combat drug use. Teenagers may be dishonest about their vaping habits, but detectors will never lie about vape particles in the air.
- Roommates can use a vape detector to determine whether someone is vaping in a shared space or violating agreed-upon boundaries as to where or whether vaping should be done. Homes with multiple vape users can keep tabs on the quality of the air inside their homes.
- Renters or tenants living in smoke-free apartments can use a vape detector to report and confirm that a neighbor is vaping or smoking.
How Effective are Vape Detectors?
Vape detectors are highly effective for indicating the use of any vape, e-cigarette, or other illicit air pollutants. The detectors are capable of sensing even just a few particles. Handheld vape detectors can give a digital readout of the amount of particulate matter in the air at any given spot down to the microgram within a cubic meter, making them great for spot-checking. Air quality from different locations or rooms can be compared to determine exactly where vaping took place.
Most mounted wall or ceiling detectors are just as sensitive but rely on ambient airflow to carry particles to their sensor. Since airflow dilutes particles as they move farther away from their source, these detectors can only cover a few hundred square feet each. This is perfect for individual rooms within the home, though multiple detectors would be required to adequately monitor a larger space.
How Much do Vape Detectors Cost?
The amount of money you spend on vape detectors will depend on what kind of detector you want to invest in. Small, handheld detectors cost less than $200. There are also wall-mounted versions, with various numbers of internal sensors, some of which can even send alerts to a smartphone. Smart detectors like these are sold at anywhere from $300 to $1000, depending on the brand and individual features.
Why Use a Vape Detector?
There are a number of reasons to invest in a vape detector for the home.
- Assess the exposure to secondhand “smoke.” A 2021 study carried out by the Respiratory Health Division of NIOSH found that up to 70% of the particles aerosolized by a vape product were exhaled by the user. That means anyone near the user is also breathing in vape chemicals.
- Conventional smoke detectors may not always catch the vapor emitted by vapes. A dedicated detector for vaping is more sensitive and therefore more likely to pick up on any aerosolized particles within a certain size range, rather than just smoke.
- Vape detectors are more subtle. While a regular smoke detector has to be equipped with a fire alarm designed to “wake the dead” in case of emergency, vape detectors are generally more subtle in their alerts. Vape detectors are geared explicitly toward detection, not evacuation. This makes a vape detector a valuable tool for regularly monitoring the use or suspected use of vapes in the home.
- Deter vaping at home. Sometimes the mere presence of a detector is enough to keep people from vaping at home.
How do Home Vape Detectors Work?
Vape detectors work by using a laser to detect the tiny particles found in vape smoke. Contrary to their name, vape devices emit much more than water vapor. The vape “juice” of e-cigarettes contains not only nicotine, but also propylene glycol, glycerin, and various flavoring compounds. Cannabis vapes emit not only THC and CBD but also glycol and glycerin similar to nicotine vapes, in addition to other chemical additives. All of these particulates are detectable in the air when the person vaping breathes out. Light from a laser inside the vape detector bounces off of these particles and hits a sensor, triggering the detector within seconds.
Can Vape Detectors Help Combat Teen Vaping?
Parents and guardians can use a vape detector to alert them when their teen is vaping at home. Many detectors can send a notification directly to a smartphone when vaping is detected, allowing for immediate intervention. This is particularly helpful because there is no need for the parent to be constantly in the room with their teen. Vape detectors allow remote monitoring within the home that allows teens to retain most of their independence from direct visual supervision.
Vape detectors may even be an option for teens to help keep each other accountable.
Can a Vape Detector Also Detect Weed?
Vape detectors can detect all manner of smoking and vaping, including cannabis vape and many synthetic cannabinoids or designer drugs in the air. These detectors respond to the presence of any particles in the air that 2.5 microns or smaller, known as “fine particulate matter.” This includes vaporized THC and CBD, as well as the other compounds found in conventional or electronic weed use.
Can I Prove My Neighbor is Smoking?
When you smell your neighbor’s smoke or vape, that is your nose detecting particles in the air. A detector can pick up those same particles to help you prove your neighbor is contaminating your air! It might be a bit trickier to reliably detect a neighbor smoking, but if you can smell them a detector can too.
A vape detector is an important tool to have at home. Whether to monitor the use of e-smoking devices by household members or to alert unexpected exposure from a guest or outside source, a detector is the best way to know when and where vaping has occurred.
About the Author
Dr. Koz resides in the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, California. He is a subject matter expert on vape detectors, gas sensor technology, gas detectors, gas meters, and gas analyzers. He has been designing, building, manufacturing, and testing toxic gas detection systems for over 20 years.
Every day is a blessing for Dr. Koz. He loves to help customers solve their unique problems. Dr. Koz also loves spending time with his wife and his three children going to the beach, grilling burgers, and having cold beer. Read more about Forensics Detectors here.
Phone: +1 424-341-3886