PM2.5 sensor

Are There Sensors That Detect Vape? (update 2023)

Yes, there are sensors that detect vaping. Vape sensors can also detect the presence of vapor or smoke produced by vape devices or e-cigarettes that have nicotine, THC, or CBD active ingredients. Vape sensors are used in a variety of settings, such as schools, workplaces, or public spaces, to monitor and enforce policies on smoking and vaping. And yes, vape detectors do actually work.

What Are The Different Types of Sensors that Detect Vape?

There are several different types of sensors that can be used to detect vaping, including:

  1. Ionization sensors: These sensors use a small amount of radioactive material to ionize the air and create a current. When vapor or smoke is present, it disrupts the current, which the sensor detects as an indication of vaping. These sensors are low-cost and used in many home smoke detectors.
  2. Photoionization detectors (PIDs): These sensors use UV light to ionize the air and create a current. When vapor or smoke is present, it absorbs the UV light, disrupting the current and indicating the presence of vaping. A common sensor used in smoke detectors.
  3. Metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) sensors: These sensors use a ceramic film with a layer of metal oxide on top. When vapor or smoke is present, it reacts with the metal oxide and changes the resistance of the film, which the sensor detects as an indication of vaping. Not reliable and not commonly used to detect smoke or vaping.
  4. Mass spectrometry sensors: These sensors use mass spectrometry to detect the presence of vapor in the air. Mass spectrometry sensors are highly sensitive and can detect very small amounts of vapor, making them effective for detecting vaping in public places. Mass spectrometry sensors are radically expensive and simply not practical for any vaping application.
  5. Laser and Infrared (IR) sensors: These sensors use a beam of light to detect the presence of vapor or smoke. When the beam is interrupted by vapor or smoke, it indicates the presence of vaping. In some sensors, the light is scattered and detected by a photodiode. This is the most sensitive method to detect vaping and smoke that ranges from 1.0 to 10 microns.

What are the Cross Interference Components of Vape Sensors?

It’s important to note that vape sensors may not be able to differentiate between vapor or smoke produced by e-cigarettes and vapor or smoke produced by other sources, such as traditional cigarettes or cooking fumes. We often get calls from customers asking if the vape detector can identify the nicotine, identify THC, and other components. To put it simply. No, it cannot. Such a capability would be a dream come true and only a sophisticated laboratory analysis of the air can produce such a breakdown.

Can Vape Detectors Give a False Alarm?

Vape detectors and sensors are susceptible to false positives. Therefore, when setting up and identifying the location of your vape detector, it is critical for the unit to have adjustable threshold sensitivity to reduce false alarms and be placed in a constant temperature and humidity environment.

What is the Best Sensor to Detect Vape?

The best sensor to detect vaping is a laser scattering particulate sensor. These sensors are known as particulate matter or dust sensors PM2.5. They employ very sensitive electronics and optical components to provide high-fidelity emitted vaping products. The PM2.5 sensors are much more sensitive compared to a VOC used for vaping. VOC reaches a max of 50 ppm, whereas PM2.5 reaches over 1000 ug/m3 per research conducted by East Carolina University.

Sensors That Detect Vape
A vape detector incorporates laser scattering sensor technology that allows the detection of vape juice particulates that are suspended in the air. These particles are emitted by vapes, cigarettes, weed, and E-cigarettes. Laser scattering is the most sensitive and reliable way to detect vaping.


  • PM2.5 sensors are reliable sensor elements used within vape detectors.
  • Vape detectors cannot provide the type of detection components, i.e. THC, CBD, nicotine, etc..
  • Vape detectors are susceptible to false positives triggered by steam, humidity, dust, and aerosols.
  • Vape detectors installed in schools, homes, workplaces, hotels, and casinos are a great way to track, alarm, or deter folks from vaping.

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.

DrKoz Vape Detector

Phone: +1 424-341-3886