TSA Rules for Vapes and e-Cigarettes (The Big Questions Answered) [2023]

As people return to traveling, a lot of passengers will be asking about the TSA rules for vapes, mods, and e-cigarettes.

The rules are relatively straightforward but there are some specific requirements that you need to be aware of when it comes to things like cartridges and batteries.

In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about bringing your vape pens or e-cigarettes through airport security.

What are the TSA rules for vapes and e-cigarettes?

TSA allows passengers to bring electronic cigarettes and similar devices (vaporizers, vape pens, mods, atomizers, and electronic nicotine delivery systems) through airport security as a carry-on.

However, these devices are prohibited in CHECKED baggage.

The FAA banned e-cigarettes in checked luggage in 2016 after there were reports of small fires that broke out in the cargo holds. So this restriction is for the safety of all passengers and crew.

Please do not attempt to get around this restriction as it will put everybody at risk.

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Bringing vapes and e-cigarettes through airport security

When taking your vapes and e-cigarettes through the airport, you can bring them inside your carry-on or inside a personal item (such as a backpack) no problem.

(I don’t recommend putting them in your pocket while in the airport because you might forget as you go through airport security scanners.)

Some airlines, such as American Airlines and Delta, recommended that you store them in a designated carry case that may have come with the original vape packaging.

If your mod/vaping device has multiple parts then it is recommended that you disassemble your vaporizer prior to entering the security line.

Even better is if you have all of the parts (atomizer, tank, mouth piece, batteries, etc.) neatly placed within a carrier for easy inspection.

When you are actually going through security, it’s recommended to remove your e-cigarette/vape, place it in a tray/bin, and put it through the x-ray scanner separately from your carry-on bag.

If you keep it in your bag, it could look suspicious and cause you to undergo additional screening.

Generally speaking, the larger your device the greater your chances of a TSA agent wanting to take a closer look.

If they want to take a closer inspection, just let them do their thing. If you don’t have any illegal substances, you don’t have anything to worry about.

Note that if you are bringing special pods or packs that contain liquid vape you need to comply with the liquids rule which I will talk about below.

Related: Bringing a lighter through airport security

Remove your vaping device from your carry-on when going through security for a smooth experience.

Liquid vape cartridges

Liquid cartridges such as JUULpods that click into the top of the JUUL devices and other similar containers that contain e “juices” are considered a liquid and, therefore, they will be subject to the TSA liquids 3-1-1 rule.

The liquids 3-1-1 rule requires all liquid containers to be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller and for them to be stored in a quart sized bag (preferably a clear Ziploc bag).

This means that if you are transporting JUULpods or other juice packs, you need to transport them in a very specific way.

First, the vape cartridges need to be smaller than 100ml.

Many vape juice cartridges are much smaller than 100ml so it should not be difficult for you to find TSA compliant vape cartridges.

In some cases you may need to remove your vape cartridge from your device so that the device has no attachments containing liquid.

Second, you need to place these cartridges in a quart sized Ziploc bag.

The key thing here is that the cartridges must fit “comfortably” inside the bag which means the bag cannot be overstuffed or almost bursting at the seams.

If you do not have TSA Pre-Check, you will need to remove your liquids bag from your carry-on as you make your way through the airport screening process.

Because of this screening process you might be better off just transporting your pods in your checked baggage where you can transport unlimited quantities.

There are reports of the pods leaking at high altitudes so having them in a sealed bag is highly recommended. It is also better to transport a partially used cartridge that has room for the liquid to expand to avoid leakage.

Related: TSA Checklist (Tips & PDF)

Vaping pen

Checking your bag at the gate

Sometimes your plane may not have room for your carry-on, especially if you are towards the back of the boarding process.

If this happens to you and you are traveling with your vape, be sure that you remove your vape and batteries from your carry-on bag that they are checking because they will not be allowed as a checked item.

Related: Can You Take Cigarettes on a Plane?

Vape pen chargers

If you are bringing a power charger or power bank that contains a lithium ion battery it must also be packed in your carry-on bag.

This is because such battery packs can cause risks of explosions and fires in the cargo hold. So to be on the safe side, bring your spare batteries with you on your carry-on.

Keep in mind that TSA can apply extra scrutiny when traveling with multiple spare batteries because the batteries can pose a risk. This is especially true if your lithium batteries have more than 100 watt hours.

For that reason, you may want to only travel with one spare battery or pack your multiple batteries delicately so that they cannot come in to contact with each other.

Related: Bringing Batteries on a Plane: TSA’s Rules for Staying Charged Up

Flying with marijuana/THC vapes

With the growing legalization of marijuana in different states, a lot of travelers are now curious as to how they can legally fly when carrying marijuana on them.

The first thing to note is that marijuana is still illegal on the federal level which makes it illegal to fly with.

Reportedly, regardless of what airport you are departing, TSA’s response to finding marijuana will be the same.

“It is important for me to note that TSA’s response to the discovery of marijuana is the same in every state and at every airport – regardless of whether marijuana has been or is going to be legalized,” TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers explained. 

“This also covers medical marijuana.”

But in practice it’s not clear that this is the case.

If you are flying from a state that has legal marijuana, such as Colorado, and you were caught with marijuana at the airport, it is possible that they will simply request for you to dispose of the cannabis.

But if you were traveling from an area where marijuana is not legalized, the response could be much different.

The bottom line is that this is still a bit of a gray area that is still developing and so there are basically no guarantees as to how TSA will react upon finding marijuana in your possession during the security screening process.

The second thing to note is that TSA is not actively looking to discover marijuana or other illegal drugs that might be in your possession. The TSA website states:

TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs

However, they do note that if illegal substances are discovered during the security screening process the TSA will refer the matter to a law-enforcement officer.

Many vapes containing THC are pretty discreet so they may not always be easily detected.

So if you are traveling with (small amounts) of marijuana/THC vape pens you may not encounter any problems but you should be prepared to have to dispose of your marijuana if it is detected by TSA and in a worst-case scenario, be prepared to explain why you have it in your possession to a law-enforcement officer.

Related: Can You Smoke Weed in a Hotel Room?

Related: Can You Bring Food on a Plane?

Vaping pen marijuana

The back up plan

Some travelers who are weary about losing items when going through security will bring a self-addressed envelope with postage so that they can mail off any item that would be confiscated.

I’ve personally never tried this before but I have seen reports online of people doing it successfully. While a rare occurrence, it could come in handy when a TSA agent uses discretion to confiscate your vape due to some unknown reason or suspicion (TSA agents have discretion to prevent you from bringing items through security).

I don’t see any reason why the self-addressed envelope route could not work in many instances but if you are trying to mail off illegal substances such as marijuana then it could obviously be very problematic (and illegal) so use common sense.

TSA rules for vapes FAQ

Can you vape in an airplane?

No, you are not allowed to vape inside an aircraft. This is to protect people from the devices’ second-hand vapor and to reduce the risk of a device malfunctioning. If you are caught vaping on a plane you could be subject to a large fine up to $4,000.

Do I need to turn my vape off during flight?

Many airlines require your vape to be turned off or to be placed in safety mode during flight.

Can you vape in an airplane lavatory?

No, you are not allowed to vape anywhere inside an aircraft.

Can I bring an e-cigarette as a carry-on?

Yes, e-cigarettes are allowed to be brought on a plane as a carry-on.

Why are vape pens not allowed and checked baggage?

Vape pens are not allowed in checked baggage because they present a hazardous risk. The batteries could be prone to exploding and catching fire in the cargo compartment.

Can you charge an e-cigarette in an airplane?

Many airlines will not allow you to charge an e-cigarette during flight and may require it to be powered off. You can ask a flight attendant but be prepared for them to tell you no.

Can I bring an e-cigarette on an international flight?

Some countries have banned e-cigarettes from flights and from importation so before attempting to travel with an e-cigarette on an international flight you should first verify that possession of the e-cigarette in the country is legal.

Can I travel with a vape containing THC?

While TSA does not actively seek out vapes containing THC, it is possible that if it is detected they will request for you to throw it out or refer you to airport authorities. This can even occur when departing from a state with legalized marijuana.

Do I have to declare my electronic cigarette?

No, you do not have to declare your electronic cigarette or vape. However, you should remove it from your carry-on and comply with the liquids rule if needed.

Do vapes leak on airplanes?

Cartridges containing liquids tend to leak at high altitudes as the liquid expands under the decreased air pressure. So it is recommended to not carry cartridges that are full with e-liquid. In addition, storing them in a sealed bag or container could be a good idea.

Can vapes set off the smoke alarm in a plane?

Yes, vapor can set off the smoke alarm on a plane which is another reason why you do not want to vape on a plane. Passengers have gotten into trouble with this in the past, so it’s something you don’t want to risk.

Final word

Traveling with an e-cigarette or vape through airport security is permitted so long as you comply with the liquid rules.

You want to pay extra attention to make sure you do not leave your cigarettes in your checked baggage because that could present major risks to the flight and also get you into legal trouble.

TSA Marijuana Rules Explained (Flying with Weed) [2023]

Laws regarding marijuana are quickly changing around the US. But what does this mean for flying and getting through TSA airport security?

There is a lot to consider on the topic but it’s not as complex as you might think if you break it all down the right way. In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about TSA’s rules on marijuana and how to fly sky high with weed.

What are TSA’s rules on marijuana?

TSA is not actively looking for marijuana when you go through airport security.

However, if they discover that you have marijuana they may refer you to local law-enforcement. Depending on the state and local laws, you could be subject to criminal prosecution, have your stash confiscated, or simply not face any consequences.

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Marijuana in jar

TSA’s purpose

TSA stands for “Transportation Security Administration” and the purpose is to “strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems while ensuring the freedom of movement for people and commerce.”

TSA is concerned about dangerous threats such as explosives and not with enforcing laws and penal codes. This is why they do not check for arrest warrants.

So TSA agents are not actively going to search your carry-on bag or personal item for marijuana.

That should make you feel a little bit better if you were planning on bringing marijuana on a plane but you still need to understand that you can still get busted for marijuana even in states that have legalized it.

Keep reading below for more.

The federal status of marijuana

Marijuana with over 0.3% THC is a “Schedule I” drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and illegal to possess.

So trying to get it through airport security (which is controlled by federal employees) can still be very problematic.

The official TSA stance on marijuana (including medical marijuana) is this:

Marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law [. . .] TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state or federal authorities. 

“TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other drugs. In the event a substance that appears to be marijuana is observed during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.

So TSA officers are required to report violations of the law and it is explicitly stated that they will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer. What exactly happens when you get referred depends on the state laws and local laws/ordinances of the airport.

Related: Can You Bring CBD on a Plane?

Airport policies

Airports have different rules about carrying marijuana within the airport.

LAX provides a pretty good explanation of how things currently stand:

As of January 1, 2018, California law allows for individuals 21 years of age or older to possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana for personal consumption….

APD officers, who are California Peace Officers, have no jurisdiction to arrest individuals if they are complying with state law. However, airport guests should be aware that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening stations are under federal jurisdiction. Also, passengers should be aware that marijuana laws vary state by state and they are encouraged to check the laws of the states in which they plan to travel.

This gives us some guidance to understand how things currently work.

Airport police

First, some airports such as LAX make it 100% legal to possess certain quantities of marijuana within the airport and state that airport police do not have jurisdiction to arrest travelers so long as they are complying with the laws on marijuana possession.

Airports in New York recently made it legal to possess weed at their airports as well.

So if you were just walking through the airport terminal with weed in your pocket you would not be breaking the law or subject to being arrested.

But note that some states where marijuana is legal still have airports that ban marijuana within the airport.

This is the case at Denver International Airport (DEN) and McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, which has an ordinance banning possession. In Minnesota, bringing marijuana to the airport could also be a bad idea.

At these airports you may find so-called “amnesty boxes” which are designed for you to drop your marijuana products into before heading through the airport.

If you are hyperventilating about getting arrested it might be a good idea to go ahead and drop your goods in such a box (or perhaps just drop them in the trash more discreetly).

However, it doesn’t seem that a lot of travelers actually use them.

TSA screening stations

The tricky part is that the TSA screening stations are under federal jurisdiction (or at least abide by federal laws). So when you are transporting marijuana through a TSA security station you are arguably in violation of federal law.

The policy mentioned above of referring you to law-enforcement comes into play here.

At airports like LAX in California, you would expect airport police to simply allow you to fly with your weed assuming you are within the limits allowed.

If you are above those limits you could be charged with drug trafficking so it is a line that you absolutely need to pay attention to so that you don’t cross it.

In places where marijuana is prohibited, getting referred to law-enforcement could mean getting ticketed or arrested.

Related: TSA Rules for Bringing Lighters on Planes

State laws

Finally, there is the consideration of state laws.

If you were flying from LAX to a state like Texas where marijuana is not legal the big consideration would be that once you land any possession of marijuana is illegal. So if for some reason your checked baggage was inspected in Texas and they found marijuana, you would be in violation of the law.

According to TSA reps, TSA agents do not factor in the legality of marijuana in the state you are in or the state you’re headed to. To them, it’s all the same. I doubt it plays out like that in practice, though.

Would an agent living in a state where marijuana is legal be as inclined to refer someone to law-enforcement as an agent living in a state where it is illegal?

I doubt it.

Related: Which states have legalized marijuana

The key questions to ask

Many admit that the current status of marijuana laws in air travel is a bit of a tangled mess.

States and airports have different policies and TSA agents have different inclinations in how they handle their “discovery” of marijuana. Therefore, it is really hard to guarantee how each case will play out.

But I would boil it down to answering the following three questions:

  • Has the state you are departing from legalized marijuana?
  • Are you within the state’s legal limits of personal possession of marijuana (quantity and age)?
  • Does the airport allow passengers to posses marijuana?

If the answer to all three of these questions is “yes,” you should not have to worry about getting arrested or your weed getting confiscated when going through airport security.

There still is the issue that when flying you are subject to federal jurisdiction so technically it is still illegal to bring marijuana on a plane but as long as you are not toking up during take-off (or in a lavatory) that should not be an issue.

If you answer “no” to any of those questions above there is always a risk you could be arrested.

Also, if the destination you are landing at has not legalized marijuana there could be a problem if you or your bag is searched there.

Related: Can You Smoke Weed in a Hotel Room?

thc gummies

What can happen when you get caught with marijuana at the airport

If you were bringing weed through airport security there are a number of different things that could happen (or not happen).

Nothing happens

A lot of people head through airport security every day and a lot of them have some type of marijuana with them. Yet, nothing at all happens. It’s entirely possible that you could get through airport security without any issues whatsoever.

Get referred to law enforcement and nothing happens

It’s possible that a TSA agent could discover that you have marijuana and report you to a law enforcement officer only for that officer to basically say that it is okay for you to fly with marijuana.

Marijuana gets disposed

If a TSA agent discovers that you have marijuana they could simply throw it out if they don’t feel like referring you to law enforcement.

You get fined or arrested

In some cases you could get referred to law enforcement and get fined, cited, or taken to the slammer. If you are a frequent flyer with Global Entry you could potentially lose your membership so that is a risk to consider.

How travelers get caught with marijuana

The people who typically get caught with marijuana in airport security are those who make things easily discoverable. There are two things to consider about getting caught with marijuana: 1) the type (or state) of the marijuana and 2) the location of your marijuana.

Type of marijuana

The type of marijuana that you are traveling with and the location you store it in will often dictate what happens.


TSA agents could easily discover marijuana when it is in its natural flower state. For one, it often carries a pretty pungent odor and has a pretty distinct look. It’s also often accompanied by jars or other cannabis items.

If you are bringing flower/bud with you and you have a grinder that will be visible on an x-ray that is pretty much asking to get caught and potentially arrested depending on where you are. Unless you are in a state and an airport where marijuana possession is legal, transporting marijuana in its flower state is pretty risky.


Edibles can be virtually indistinguishable from normal chocolates, gummies, and baked goods. Since you are allowed to bring food through TSA, edibles are one of the hardest types of MJ to detect in your luggage.

The packaging on edibles should display that there is THC and a lot of times the actual edibles will have a THC designation. So if a TSA agent did take a close look it wouldn’t be hard for them to know that you were transporting THC unless there was no packaging indicating that.


A lot of vape cartridges containing THC look identical to those containing CBD or other non-THC products. For this reason, it is very difficult for a TSA agent to know that your vape has illegal THC.

Be careful about bringing vapes because there are specific rules about batteries.

You never want to carry lithium-ion batteries in your checked baggage and you may be limited to just two vape batteries for your carry-on. If you go overboard with vapes or batteries you may be calling attention to yourself which could lead to a closer inspection of your items.

Related: TSA Rules for Vapes and e-Cigarettes

Creams & oils

Creams and oils are subject to the TSA liquids rule and so if you do not have TSA Pre-Check you will have to take your liquids out of your bag which may lead to a closer inspection.

If you have THC or CBD in powder form sometimes powders can force you to undergo extra scrutiny so be aware of that risk.

Marijuana edible


On your person

Putting cannabis or cannabis related products such as a pipe, joint papers, vape, etc. in your pocket when heading through something like a full-body scanner will almost always be detected.

Those scanners can pick up even the smallest items and TSA agents will see exactly where the item is located. You will then be searched until the item is found. At that point, you will be at the mercy of the TSA agent or the law enforcement officer you get referred to.


Your carry-on and personal item such as a backpack will have to go through the x-ray scanner at airport security. An attentive and experienced TSA agent could easily detect obvious cannabis items like grinders and pipes and probably a bag of bud as well.

But as mentioned above some items like edibles and vape cartridges are basically indistinguishable from legal items so it would require a TSA agent to be very curious (and basically out to hunt for THC items) in order for them to inspect them.

In some cases you could be subject to SSSS which is a more enhanced secondary screening. It is often used for people on certain watchlists but it can also be issued on a completely random basis.

If you are subject to SSSS screening it is possible that an agent will take a very close look at all of the items in your carry-on bag and could then discover that you have marijuana. It will be up to their discretion to decide what to do.

Checked baggage

There are a lot of crevices and pockets you could find in a checked baggage so TSA agents may struggle to find (or identify) your pot in checked baggage, especially if it is in edible or vape form. And even if they did find it, they may just throw it out without referring you to law enforcement.

Some TSA agents are on record stating that if an item is found in your checked baggage it would simply be thrown out and they would not bother with tracking you down for a potential arrest.

However, if you are trying to transport high quantities of marijuana in your checked baggage that might be more easily detected and depending on the amount, you could be charged with drug trafficking if caught.

Tip: Avoid trying to conceal marijuana and vapes inside of things like a jar of peanut butter. That looks very suspicious and could easily be detected as a threat.

Marijuana bag

What about the dogs at the airport?

If you see a dog sniffing around at the airport it is most likely sniffing out potential explosives and not drugs such as marijuana.

In other countries drug sniffing dogs are more common so just be aware that at some airports it is possible for a dog to be tracking down drugs.

International travel

International travel is a completely different ballgame when it comes to marijuana.

You are not allowed to transport marijuana to other countries per federal law and some countries have some very draconian laws when it comes to getting caught with drugs. For example, someone was sentenced to death in Singapore when they were found with two pounds of cannabis.

And of course, many of us know about the Brittney Griner situation in Russia, where she was sentenced to nine years in prison but released after the US made a controversial deal with Russia.

So bringing marijuana into other jurisdictions is not something you would want to test.

My advice would be to never attempt to fly internationally with marijuana because the penalties could be very severe.

Related: Can You Take Cigarettes on a Plane?

Final word

When it comes to TSA and marijuana laws we don’t have 100% clarity on how things will be handled in every case. But we do have a general idea of how things will play out.

If you transport marijuana discreetly (edible, vape, etc.) there is a low chance that it will be detected. And if you are in a state where it is legal and an airport where it is not banned, there is essentially no risk of you getting in trouble with the law despite it being illegal on the federal level.

Do Hotels Know If You Vape? What Happens If They Find Out?

Are you thinking about vaping in a hotel room but not sure if that might get you into hot water with the hotel or perhaps even the law?

In this article, I’ll take a detailed look at whether or not hotels will know if you have been vaping in your room.

I’ll cover a few different ways that they can tell if you are vaping and give you some factors to consider before you choose to violate a hotel’s policy on vaping.

General advice on vaping in hotels

As vaping has become more popular, more businesses including hotels, are lumping vaping with smoking in terms of their policies on prohibiting them.

Sometimes this is done explicitly but other times it is implicit. If you are ever in doubt you can simply call the hotel and inquire about their vaping policy or ask the front desk.

There is a lot of debate on whether or not vaping should be lumped in with smoking considering how different they can be depending on the substance.

However, a lot of hotels and localities just are not interested in taking a super nuanced approach into the matter and so you can expect smoking and vaping to be considered the same.

This is important because a lot of hotels have no smoking policies. Or, if they do allow smoking it is only in certain rooms or in certain areas of the hotel such as an outdoor patio or deck.

Nevertheless, because vaping is not detected as easily as smoking a lot of people still choose to vape in their hotel room even when the hotel has a policy against it.

So what could happen if you did choose to break the rules? Is it possible for a hotel to know that you have vaped? Let’s take a look.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

How hotels can know you have been vaping


A lot of vapes are odorless and so unlike smoking, they typically are not detectable by scent alone.

Even some vapes that do have a scent do not necessarily scream “vape sent.”

So if the hotel is going to catch you vaping it’s usually not by smell.

However, if you were vaping non-odorless marijuana, that has one of the most recognizable odors and could possibly be detected.

A fresh rip of a vape containing THC or even CBD could definitely be detected by someone who knows the smell, especially if there is dry herb involved.

Related: Can You Smoke Weed in a Hotel Room?


If you’ve been hitting your vape pretty hard there’s a good chance you have vape clouds visible in your hotel room. All it takes is one surprise visit by a staff member for them to figure out that you were vaping in your room.

For example, some hotels send someone to check on you shortly after check-in or to bring you a gift and these people often arrive unexpectedly.

Another situation is you may have forgotten that you requested extra towels, ordered water bottles, etc.

The point is that you can tell if someone has been vaping just by using your eyes in some cases and it’s not always easy to predict when a hotel staff member will come knocking on your door.

Also, if you are vaping close to your check-out time your clouds could linger by the time the cleaning crew comes in.

Related: TSA Rules for Vapes and e-Cigarettes

Smoke detectors

Hotels are required to have smoke detectors so that they can prevent catastrophic outcomes from fires. In a hotel room you may find multiple smoke detectors depending on the size of the room/suite.

They usually can be anywhere except the bathroom (because the steam from the shower can set them off).

There are different types of smoke detectors and they typically work by sensing small particles in the air which could indicate smoke from a fire.

Ionization detectors produce a small electric current flowing from one plate to the other. When enough particles enter the chamber and reduce the current below a certain amount, the alarm will sound.

Photoelectric alarms work by detecting light that is reflected off particles from a light beam inside the sensing chamber. These are said to be the most common smoke alarms found in hotels although that might vary by location.

There is also something called a heat alarm that detects temperature in a room as an indication of smoke or a fire. These are not very common and you probably will not encounter them in a hotel unless your hotel has a kitchen as that is where they are normally used.

But can these traditional smoke alarms detect vapes? The answer is yes, but only sometimes.

In a typical scenario, you probably need a lot of vape clouds and you also need to be close to the smoke alarm in order to trigger it.

A simple hit or two from a small vape pen is not likely to trigger a smoke alarm unless you are blowing the vape very close to the alarm device or you have a powerful vape capable of producing huge clouds.

But if you are a chain vaping and forming clouds that are filling up the room, even if you are quite a bit of distance away from the smoke alarm, you could still trigger it.

Of course, other factors will come in to play like open windows, fans, AC vents, etc.

If you’re dealing with the heat alarm vapes typically do not emit high temperature vapor and so the risk of you triggering a heat alarm is probably pretty low.

I’ve seen mixed reports about which type of smoke alarm is more sensitive to vape: photoelectric or ionization.

Regardless of which one is more sensitive, it’s worth noting that some fire alarms are simply programmed to be more sensitive than others. And sometimes the range of that sensitivity can be pretty dramatic.

This is what makes vaping in a hotel room truly risky — you never know how sensitive that device is going to be.

Related: TSA Marijuana Rules Explained (Flying with Weed)

Alarms that detect vapes

There are new alarms getting installed that do detect vapes.

It seems that the focus for these alarms is usually at schools and universities where younger people might be engaged in vaping.

But that doesn’t mean that some hotels might not be interested in installing them in the future.

It’s probably rare that you would encounter these at this point but I’d wager that these alarms are probably an order of magnitude more sensitive to vape than traditional smoke alarms.

So if you do run into one of these, they might be significantly more sensitive than smoke alarms you’ve dealt with in the past, making it much more likely that you will get caught by the hotel.

Avoiding getting caught and knowing the risks

My personal advice would be to just abide by the rules set out by hotels when it comes to smoking and vaping.

Nevertheless, I know some people will still try to get away with vaping.

If you are going to risk it I think you should at least be aware of the risks that you are facing when doing so and I’m going to talk about some of those below.

Turning off the alarm

Removing or turning off a smoke alarm in a hotel room is a pretty horrible idea.

Not only is there the obvious safety risk to yourself and other guests but lots of hotels have sophisticated systems that will alert them that a smoke alarm has been disabled.

In some cases, this could be a silent alert so you wouldn’t even know that it’s going on.

They may be able to see exactly what was disabled and where.

You could be kicking back in your hotel room enjoying your vape while an entire crew is headed to your room to investigate the issue or potentially even perform some sort of rescue.

Not only will you end up in an embarrassing situation but you could be fined or as you’ll see below, forced to serve jail time for tampering with a fire alarm.

Covering the smoke alarm

Another tactic that some people resort to is covering up the smoke alarm.

People resort to various methods to do this but they include taking something like a shower cap and covering up the smoke alarm. Others might use a grocery bag with a rubber band. The methods are pretty much endless.

This is a bad idea because you are tampering with a smoke alarm which could be a crime depending on where you are.

For example, take a look at the California Penal Code which states:

148.4. (a) Any person who does any of the following is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail, not exceeding one year, or by a fine, not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment:

(1) Willfully and maliciously tampers with, molests, injures, or breaks any fire protection equipment, fire protection installation, fire alarm apparatus, wire, or signal.

(2) Willfully and maliciously sends, gives, transmits, or sounds any false alarm of fire, by means of any fire alarm system or signal or by any other means or methods.

(b) Any person who willfully and maliciously sends, gives, transmits, or sounds any false alarm of fire, by means of any fire alarm system or signal, or by any other means or methods, is guilty of a felony and upon conviction is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 or by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, if any person sustains as a result thereof, any of the following:

(1) Great bodily injury.

(2) Death.

The law firm website linked above specifically mentions messing with a “smoke detector” as an example so I don’t think this statute would only apply to fire alarms.

So you could literally spend up to a year in jail for willfully and maliciously tampering with the fire alarm. And if you set off a chain of events that resulted in someone getting hurt really bad or killed, you could also be guilty of a felony.

Another reason not to do it is it could be very easy to forget that you covered the smoke alarm and therefore you could be putting yourself and everyone else staying at that hotel in danger.

And remember those unexpected visits from hotel staff, you never know when someone might approach your room.

There are some reports that some alarms can now detect if they are covered although I’m not sure about that.

But the takeaway here is that tampering with a fire alarm is just a horrible idea that could land you in jail or with a hefty fine.

The shower steam method

One popular method that people resort to when trying to vape without detection is to turn on the hot shower in the bathroom.

They let it run for several minutes and then vape in the bathroom so that their vapor is essentially masked by the hot water vapor from the shower.

I don’t think many people argue that this is not an effective method but there is one major problem with this. Unless you are in the process of taking a shower, it really is an incredible waste of energy and water. This is especially true if you are living in areas experiencing drought.

Air quality

Another thing to consider is that you could be contributing to indoor air pollution and affecting the air quality for other guests.

Some of the chemicals from your vape may even land on furniture that future guests will be coming into contact with. These people may even have a certain sensitivities that you could be triggering. Remember, many hotels do not wash the bedding between stays.

Vaping from the balcony

If your hotel room is smoke-free that includes the balcony. So vaping from a balcony would be a violation.

Realistically though, unless someone has direct sight of you vaping, it’s pretty much impossible for someone to know that you were vaping in an outdoor balcony.

If it’s at night and you have a good amount of privacy on your balcony, your chances of getting caught would be extremely low.

This would probably be the safest way to “break the rules” since you don’t have to tamper with a smoke alarm, risk contaminating your room, or get wasteful with water and heat.

What happens if you get caught?

If you get caught vaping in a hotel room the most likely outcome would be you getting hit with a cleaning fee. This fee could easily be $200 to $300.

In the more extreme case, such as you causing a significant amount of damage to the hotel room, a property might decide to charge you for the damage and ban you.

If you have been tampering with the smoke alarm and it is illegal to do that where you are, it’s possible you could be faced with criminal charges.

There may also be some type of fine involved if the statute permits or if you forced emergency services to mobilize due to the alarm.

Final word

Hotels often treat vaping like smoking which means that if the hotel allows you to smoke you probably can vape in there as well.

However, a lot of hotels prohibit smoking which means that they will not allow you to vape in your hotel room.

It’s entirely possible to vape in a hotel room without being detected in a lot of cases.

Most smoke alarms probably will not be triggered unless you are vaping heavy amounts or are close to them. There is usually a lack of odor and it’s just not very difficult to be discreet with a vape.

With that said, anytime you enter a public area you need to consider how your actions may affect others.

Whether it be contributing to indoor air pollution, wasting resources trying to mask your vape clouds, or tampering with fire alarms, trying to conceal your vaping can have negative consequences on other people.

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if you are someone who wants to put your vaping needs above the safety and health needs of others.