Vape Detector Overview

Updated: January 30, 2020

girl-vaping-inside

Vape Detectors, such as the HALO IoT Smart Sensor from IPVideo Corp or FlySense from Soter Technologies, have risen in popularity as the number of people using vape devices, also known as e-cigarettes, has increased. The growing trend of vaping concerns many because of the health risk associated with vaping e-cigarettes. Increased vaping use among teens is even more disturbing. According to a survey conducted by the NIH (National Institute of Health), there is an alarming rise in the number of teens in America who try vaping, which drives the increase in nicotine use.

In order to vape, people us a battery-powered device that heats the liquid inside the device into a vapor which can be inhaled similar to a cigarette. JUUL is probably the most well-known brand for vaping, but there are several others, including Vaporesso, Joyetech, Vandy Vape, Aspire, and SMOK. The vape often contains nicotine, flavoring, and sometimes other harmful substances such as THC.

Schools, businesses, and other organizations are turning to vape detectors as a means of combating the increase of vaping in public places, schools, universities, places of employment, healthcare, and government facilities.

Why Detecting Vape Matters

As we all know, smoking has been banned from the majority of workplaces as well as educational facilities for a long time. Many healthcare facilities and campuses have become completely no-smoking anywhere on their grounds. Other places have designed smoking areas, but only outside. Smoke detectors will go off with traditional smoking, but vaping has created new issues for employers and school administrators. Vape detectors are a good solution for bathrooms or other private areas where cameras or other monitoring devices are not appropriate due to privacy concerns.

A Negative School Trend

Traditional smoke detectors do not pick up e-cigarette vape, so a new approach is needed. Vaping is dangerous, and yet there is extensive use, especially among students. Unfortunately, it’s common to walk into the bathrooms of middle school and high schools and be hit with fruity flavoring smells like blueberry. The problem goes beyond the health risks of the individual vaping, but it also creates a peer and culture issue among teens. Federal officials estimate the number of students who use e-cigarettes to vape is around 3 million, an increase of approximately 75% in the last year.

The marketing and advertising industry have led people to feel that vaping is a healthier option to traditional tobacco-based cigarettes. Kids pick up on the concept of it being healthier and throw caution to the wind. Unfortunately, nicotine is highly addictive. Adolescent brains are particularly vulnerable to addiction. Dr. Frances Jensen explained how young people have a higher degree of “synaptic plasticity” than adults, which means they are building bigger and faster connections in their brains. “They can imprint—on good things and bad things. For instance, addiction, which is a form of learning, is stronger, faster, and longer in younger people.” Vaping, while most prevalent in school bathrooms, also happens in the hallway and even the classroom.

Best Vape Detectors

  • #1 – HALO IoT Smart Sensor
  • #2 – FlySense

There are only a few manufacturers for vape detectors. HALO IoT Smart Sensors have been recognized as the industry leader, winning several awards. HALO IoT Smart Sensor was Named 2019’s Best New Security Product by the Security Industry Association (SIA). They were also awarded the 2019 Campus Safety BEST Award in two categories, including Emergency Communication Safety and Security Applications category and the Inspection and Detection Equipment category. According to David Antar, President of IPVideo Corporation, the HALO IoT Smart Sensor has received 17 awards throughout 2019.

Purchasing A HALO IoT Smart Sensor Vape Detector

HALO IoT Smart Sensors are not sold directly from the manufacturer, IPVideo Corporation. But instead, to buy a sensor, you must go through a reseller such as Vigilance Software. A reseller can help walk you through the requirements to implement a vape detector and help plan the implementation.

Ordering Vape Detectors

Vape Detector Cost

HALO IoT Smart Sensor vape detectors have an MSRP of $1295, but depending on an organization’s needs, there may be volume discounts available. To find out more related to volume discounts, contact your reseller for more information.

Placing an order for Vape Detectors

Ordering a vape detector is as easy as contacting a reseller. Below is the contact information for HALO Smart Sensor sales through Vigilance Software

Installing Vape Detectors

Vape detectors are mounted in the ceiling with a couple of Phillips screws and a few hex screws, similar to a smoke detector. The sensor units require a wired Ethernet network connection, both to power the unit and to communicate when an alarm threshold is triggered. This network connection must be a standard PoE (Power over Ethernet) and is limited to the same 100 meters or 300 feet as a standard Ethernet connection.

The detectors should not be placed in high air current areas, such as HVAC exhausts, air return ducts, or fans, as this may affect the quality of sensor readings. Most vaping detectors also have tamper detection sensors to know if someone is trying to move or otherwise tamper with the device. For this reason, you should avoid installing the vape detectors where there are lots of vibrations.

The tools required for mounting the device are very basic and include #2 Phillips screwdriver, T10 Torx wrench (typically provided), and a cutting tool such as a saw to make the mounting hole. A 5″ hole saw or 120 mm hole saw works best, but a Sheetrock hand saw works as well.

Vape Detector Coverage

Each device will cover a 12′ x 12′ area, assuming the rooms have a standard 8′ ceiling height. If not, then adjustments may need to be made.

Managing and Configuring

Each vape detector device is configured individually by logging in via a web interface using the local IP address. Once logged in, you can configure the notification setting as well as the sensitivity settings for the sensors.

Multiple Sensors Built-In

One of the nice features of the multi-sensor devices is that they are for more than just vape detection. Why is that important? It is important because it helps the organization receive a higher value for their investment in a vape detector. The Halo multi-sensor, for instance, has sensor detection for carbon dioxide, total volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, ammonia, temperature, humidity, smoke, vape, THC, light levels, sound levels, tamper, and aggression.

Notification Options For Vape Detectors

One of the shortcomings of vape detectors is in the area of notifications. The typical setup for vape detection notification requires you to log into each unit and configure the list of recipients for the email addresses and text numbers. As you can imagine, this can become an overwhelming task depending on how many sensors you have installed and the different locations or sites they may be installed in.

Contact Vigilance For More Info

For instance, take a school district that has several elementary schools, several middle schools, and several high schools across multiple towns. Managing who should receive what notification for each device can be cumbersome in that situation.

Best Alerting Options For Vape Detectors

The best option for vape detector notifications is to use a 3rd party solution, such as Vigilance Software. When people are vaping with an electronic cigarette in a restricted area, you want people to be made aware immediately so that they can respond as quickly as possible. Vigilance Software makes this possible.

Vigilance Software makes it much easier to manage the groups of users who should receive the notifications when a detector’s alarm is set off. It allows you to granularly manage the user groups for each specific vape detector easily.

It also provides several additional means of sending alerts such as desktop notification on windows and macs, mobile app notifications, automated phone calls, text messages, and email notification. Within the admin site of Vigilance, you can group the vape detector devices, so they are sent to groups specific to each school or building within a school. It is a very flexible system.

The standard notification setting on the devices themselves limits the number of people who can receive an alert when the vape detector goes off. 3rd party notification systems, like Vigilance Software, alleviate this issue.

What Happens When A Vape Detector Goes Off

When a vape detector senses vapor in the air from an e-cigarette, an alarm is triggered internally for the device. With the signal is triggered, the device communicates across the network and alerts the designed recipients configured for the device.

There is no audible or visual alarm to the person in the area. It is a silent alarm that just triggers the alert action. A simple email or text message is sent with a basic configuration unless the device is integrated with a 3rd party notification solution such as Vigilance Software.

 

Will Vaping Set Off A Smoke Alarm

It is pretty rare for vapor from an e-cigarette to set off a fire alarm, but it can happen. Fire alarms detect smoke by design but understand there are different types of alarms including ionization, optical, and heat alarms.

Ionization type alarms are sensitive to small smoke particles in the air. They use two electrically charged radioactive plates and when smoke particles disrupt the electricity between the plates, the alarm goes off. Optical alarms work by beaming infrared light, that when disrupted by particles of smoke, causes the alarm to go off due to the scattering of the light. Heat alarms, typically found in kitchens, respond to heat rather than smoke.

Off the three types of smoke alarms, the heat alarm is least likely to be set off as there is no heat associated with the vapor. Optical alarms are the most likely to be set off by e-cigarettes, but usually only if large amounts of vapor is blown directly into the device. The same can happen with Ionisation. This is one of the many reasons that vaping inside has been banned in many public places. There is a real cost associated with fire alarms being set off and the fire department having to respond. The best approach is to create an environment and culture to prevent vaping inside in the first place. Having vape detectors in place will go a long way toward prevention.

 

Questions About Vape Detectors

If you have any questions about vape detectors and their use, please contact Vigilance Software a call at 207-221-8805 (press option 1) or email us at sales@vigilancesoftware.com