It’s all well and good for homeowners or schools or hotels to be concerned with detecting vape usage, but what about the people who own or manage those properties? Should landlords be concerned with vaping on their properties? How could landlords even go about monitoring this behavior?
Fortunately, there are easy-to-use and highly effective vape detectors available. Here are some of the most important things for landlords to know about vape detectors.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is a colloquial term for the use of electronic devices to deliver a drug by heating some material (like an oil, herb, or wax) to create an inhalable aerosol without combusting, or burning, that material. E-cigarettes are a common electronic nicotine delivery system, and their dab pen counterparts vaporize cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
The biggest difference between vaping and smoking conventional cigarettes is the makeup of the cloud of particles produced during use. Smoking a cigarette or joint produces a cloud of smoke and ash which contains not only the substance desired by the user but also an incredible number of often unknown and quite toxic chemicals. The vapor produced by someone using an electronic smoking device contains none of the ash and true smoke formed by burning leaves and paper. Instead, it is made up of particles of nicotine or cannabis as well as any number of solvents, oils, and many dangerous compounds – a large number of which are either not yet studied or in fact known to be highly toxic.
Should Landlords Allow Vaping?
There are a number of reasons landlords should not allow vaping on their properties. These considerations run the gamut from legal to practical and even financial.
- OSHA requirement to provide a work environment with clean air. If you bring in contractors of any kind (building maintenance, etc), you’re responsible for meeting that requirement.
- landlord liability RE: tenant activity? Insurance? health codes?
- simple consideration for others in multitenant or multi-unit properties.
- Continuity of smoke-free guidelines or restrictions (no smoking includes no vaping)
- Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health: measured vape sessions in 57 homes in New York between 2015 and 2019. Found that PM2.5 significantly increased in the rooms where vaping took place. Concluded that e-cigs should be included in smoke-free house rules.
- property damage and cleanup/turnover difficulty resulting from vape usage
Why do Landlords Need Vape Detectors?
Landlords share many of the same considerations as homeowners regarding vape detectors. But in addition to the tenants occupying rented space, landlords need to be kept apprised of the vaping activities of guests, contractors, and employees on their premises. An additional complication to consider is that landlords often own or are otherwise responsible for multiple properties at once, and they may not reside at any of those properties themselves.
Considering the above, landlords need a reliable way to detect and be alerted to vaping in progress, as well as to quantify the vaping episode or air quality for documentation purposes.
What Kind of Vape Detectors are Best for Landlords?
Landlords are often not among the leasees of the properties they own or manage. Unlike smoke detectors which serve an emergency evacuation function, vape detectors are a tool for awareness, monitoring, and documentation. As such, they don’t necessarily need an audible alarm to sound in the absence of the landlord or managing party to be effective. Instead, vape detectors for landlords need to send a remote notification to the landlord when vaping is detected in order to be effective.
To this end, the most useful vape detector for a landlord to install and maintain is this wall-mounted vape detector.
Engineered with schools, homes, and hotels in mind, this detector can be easily mounted on any wall or ceiling. It is sleek and unobtrusive, and it can be programmed to send an email or text alert to a designated smartphone when triggered. That means no matter where the landlord is, they can be quickly and reliably notified when vaping is detected on their property.
How do Vape Detectors Work?
Vape detectors using PM2.5 technology use a laser to identify and alert to the presence of fine particulate matter in the air. In other words, they detect particles in the air that have diameters of 2.5 microns or smaller. There is a certain amount of background particulate matter even in unadulterated air, but the aerosols produced by electronic cannabis or nicotine delivery systems rapidly and significantly increase the local concentration of particulates.
When light from the laser bounces off enough of these tiny particles in the air and hits a sensor placed slightly off to the side, the detector is triggered and will alert by sound or notification (depending on the model).
Do Landlords Need Smoke Detectors AND Vape Detectors?
Vape detectors are 100 times more sensitive than the smoke detectors already installed in a leased area. Landlords can rest assured that vape detectors can detect smoke from a fire in addition to the usage of e-cigarettes. For the sake of detection, a vape detector can be a one-stop shop for both vapor and smoke!
With that having been said, landlords take note: most commercial and residential rental properties are required by law (either for local tenant protections or simply to comply with the fire code) to have traditional smoke detectors installed on the premises. In some cases, the installation and maintenance of those smoke detectors is the responsibility of the landlord – not the lessee. Landlords in most jurisdictions can be held legally responsible for the absence of a dedicated smoke alarm.
The takeaway is that while both vaping activity and smoke can be monitored by a vape detector alone, landlords should check their fine print to be sure whether they need to maintain a working smoke detector on the premises as well.
Which Landlords Need Vape Detectors?
All landlords should invest in vape detectors for their properties.
Of course, landlords of residential buildings should install vape detectors, but they shouldn’t be the only ones. Commercial properties like mall spaces and restaurant premises need vape detectors, too! In addition to the tenants of commercial rental real estate, there will also be employees, guests, patrons, and contractors of those tenants regularly using the property.
Can Vape Smoke Go Through Walls?
The vapor produced by e-cigarettes and other vape devices is unlikely to go through walls, but it can definitely flow around walls and stick to them!
A 2018 study by the University of California discovered that the exhaled aerosols from a mall vape shop settled on surfaces in other rooms and businesses in the mall. Residue samples taken from walls, fabrics, and other surfaces contained nicotine, other alkaloids, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines. All of which are considered carcinogenic. The researchers also noted that the amount of accumulated residue from those aerosols increased over time.
Can Vaping Damage Property?
Yes! Vaping can cause damage to property.
The same nicotine that stains the walls of the homes of tobacco smokers is steadily vaporized by e-cigarettes and deposited on the surrounding surfaces. Considering the broad array of caustic and damaging chemicals scientists continue to find alongside the main ingredients in vape devices, it stands to reason that nicotine is only the tip of the property damage iceberg. Formaldehyde, for example, is frequently detected as an ingredient in vape juice. That same formaldehyde is used to preserve animal tissue (it is used in many types of embalming fluids) and is exorbitantly carcinogenic.
Even the less caustic components of vape juice can cause property damage over time. The vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol found in many vapes create an oily and sticky residue over all of the nearby surfaces. This residue will find its way into ventilation equipment and onto ceiling fans, and other hard to access and clean places.
Finally, there is the perceived value of the property. Even where there is no readily apparent damage from vaping in the building, the mere knowledge that vaping has occurred inside the building can devalue the property in the eyes of visitors and prospective tenants.
Is Vape Damage Permanent?
The degree and permanence of property damage caused by vaping will vary on a case-by-case basis. This is exacerbated by the differences between the habits of different vape users, the varied components of the liquids being vaporized, and especially by the unregulated nature of e-cigarettes and newer-generation vape devices.
By nature, vape devices create a vapor – a cloud of tiny liquid particles which deliver the contents of the vape device to the person using it. This vapor often contains large quantities of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin. When these droplets accumulate on surfaces, the result is an oily sheen which can also attract dirt, dust, and grime. On hard nonporous surfaces this can often be cleaned with vinegar and some serious elbow grease, but on soft surfaces like curtains, furniture, or carpeting this can create a stained appearance that will be nearly impossible to remove.
All landlords should consider investing in one or more vape detectors for their properties. Vape detectors for landlords will:
- Provide measurements and a metric for documentation of air quality and vape use on the premises.
- Notify the landlord offsite about a detected vaping event
- Help to halt ongoing vape use, and to deter future vape use
- Landlords should invest in a wall-mounted vape detector for unobtrusive and continuous monitoring of the desired space
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