It’s a situation that’s probably familiar to many vapers – you’ve booked into a hotel but there weren’t any vape-friendly rooms left, so now you have to go all the way down to the lobby to step outside for a vape.
But then of course you start thinking, if you just vape in the room instead, what are your chances of being caught? After all, it’s a vape, not a cigarette.
To help you understand this dilemma – and to help you avoid a fine – in this post, we answer the question, how do hotels know if you vape?
How Do Hotels Know If You Vape?
If you are staying in a hotel with a no-smoking and no-vaping policy, you might be wondering if you can get away with vaping in your room – after all, vapes don’t produce smoke like a cigarette, so you might think that the vapor won’t set off a smoke detector.
However, there are a couple of ways hotel staff will know if you’ve been vaping in your room, so let’s look them now.
1. Smoke detectors
The most obvious way for a hotel to find out about you vaping in your room is because of the smoke detector – because yes, vaping can also be detected by such a system.
Although they’re called “smoke detectors”, smoke is not the only thing that will set them off.
There are essentially two types of smoke detector – particulate detectors and sensor detectors.
The first type is designed to detect ionized air caused by combusted smoke particles – which includes smoke from cigarettes – while the second type uses light beams to detect clouds of smoke.
The important thing to understand is that while a particulate sensor might not pick up your vaping, a sensor detector will be set off by a cloud of vapor just as easily as by a cloud of cigarette smoke.
This means that since you’re unlikely to know which type the smoke detector is – and since many sophisticated modern smoke detectors incorporate both systems – it’s not worth the risk if you don’t want to receive a fine.
2. Vape residue
Smoke detectors in rooms aren’t your only enemy, however – because the housekeeping staff are usually trained to notice if people have been smoking or vaping in non-smoking rooms.
Of course, while it will usually be quite obvious if somebody has been smoking in a room, even many hours after the act, vaping is less easy to detect – but there are certain signs that can give away your illicit vaping.
One of these is looking for the tell-tale sticky film left by vaping, and since part of the housekeeping staff’s job is cleaning the various surfaces in your room, they’re likely to notice if you’ve been vaping.
Vape juice usually consists of a blend of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin along with other components such as nicotine and flavorings, and after you exhale a cloud of vapor, these components settle wherever they land.
This means if you vape in your room, the residue this leaves may then be found on bedside tables, on windows, on mirrors or on any other similar surfaces in your room – and when the housekeeping staff notice this, the game will be up.
3. The smell
Although it’s nothing compared with the unmistakable odor of cigarettes, the flavorings from the vape clouds you exhale will also be detectable on things like bed linen, towels, curtains and carpets.
Again, since the housekeeping staff need to change your linen and towels, they are likely to notice tell-tale vaping smells, and this is something else that can give the game away.
It all depends on how much you vape though – and which type of vape device you use.
For example, taking a couple of puffs on a disposable vape will probably not land you in trouble – but constant vaping from a large sub-ohm device will be a lot harder to hide.
Note also that if you vape cannabis products, the distinctive smell can also be quite hard to mask.
In this case. hotel staff passing close to your room or other hotel guests may notice the smell, which can also land you in deep water – especially if you are vaping in an area where marijuana still isn’t legal.
Vaping in the bathroom
If you are in a no-vaping room, you may decide it’s not worth the risk – but you might also have heard that the bathroom could be a better option.
This is because many hotel bathrooms don’t have smoke detectors in them since they would also be set off by the steam from the shower.
As a result, this can potentially mean that going into the bathroom for a vape and shutting the door to keep the vapor from reaching the any detectors in the bedroom could work.
However, before doing this, you need to check carefully to make sure the bathroom doesn’t have a smoke alarm or you may still find yourself in trouble.
At the same time, there’s another problem with vaping in the bathroom.
Since the bathroom is a small and enclosed space, the smell of the vape is more likely to impregnate the shower curtain and the towels, so the staff might still catch you.
This means you’re better off finding another solution, and we don’t recommend vaping in the bathroom – but if you have to, you might have a better chance of getting away with it.
Unless, of course, you set off an alarm that you didn’t notice was there!
Use a disposable
If you are determined to vape in a room where vaping is forbidden, one tip is to use a small disposable vape instead of something designed to produce big clouds of vapor.
Big clouds are more likely to set off smoke alarms, and they are also more likely to leave films of residue on surfaces and odors on fabrics.
A good alternative for avoiding detection would be the Spiritbar Katakana 10000, a sleek and stylish disposable that’s designed to incorporate the look and feel of a Japanese katana sword, making it both attractive to look at and comfortable to hold.
Since disposables like this produce smaller clouds of vapor, you’re much more likely to get away with using one in a hotel room – although if you choose to do so, you are doing it at your own risk!
Check the hotel policy before you vape
Before you start vaping in your room, it’s a good idea to find out what the hotel’s policy is – because knowing if you’re allowed to vape or not and how much the fine will be will help you decide whether or not it’s worth the risk.
Even better, just try to plan ahead and book a room where you’re allowed to vape or one that has a balcony – because that way, you won’t have anything to worry about!
To finish, here are a couple of frequently asked questions about vaping in hotel rooms
Can you vape in the bathroom?
Although you might be less likely to get caught if you smoke in the bathroom, it’s still not a good idea. Hotel bathrooms don’t always have smoke alarms, but they are sometimes equipped with advanced models that can easily detect your vaping.
Furthermore, the smell of your vape may also be more apparent after vaping in a bathroom, which can increase your chances of getting caught.
Can you vape out of the window?
In hotel rooms where vaping isn’t permitted, vaping out of the window will be considered the same as vaping in the room, and if you get caught, you will have to pay a fine just the same.
You might think that putting your head out of the window may reduce your chances of getting caught, but the vapor might still be blown back into the room, setting off the smoke detector, so in the end, this is a risk you’ll have to assess for yourself.
Can you cover up a smoke detector to vape in your room?
Some people might think that covering up a smoke alarm with a towel or something similar might be the solution they’re looking for, but this is highly inadvisable.
While vaping in a room may land you with a fine, tampering with a smoke detector is a far more serious offence, and in the US is considered a felony.
This means if you are caught covering a smoke detector, it could even land you in prison, so it’s hardly a risk worth taking.
Another consideration is that tampering with a smoke detector could cause it to malfunction in the case of a real fire (which is why it’s considered such a serious offence), and this could put people’s lives at risk.
So in short, whichever other solution you opt for, just leave the smoke detector alone.
There’s a good chance you’ll be caught – and fined
As we’ve seen, just because you’re vaping in the room and not smoking, it doesn’t mean you won’t be caught. On the contrary, if you decide to vape in the room, there are several ways the hotel can find out about it, and doing so may see you receiving a hefty fine.
Far better is to plan ahead and book a vape-friendly room – or alternatively, go to an area of the hotel where vaping is allowed and try to refrain from enjoying a vape while you’re in your room.