This may seem like an obvious question, but if you’ve booked a hotel and paid for it, are you allowed to vape? That depends on what kind of room you chose. If it’s a smoking room, then yes, you can. But if it’s a no-smoking room, even if it doesn’t mention vapes, then you can’t.
But this question isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. So we’re going to look into some of the complexities and caveats that come up when someone asks, ‘Can you vape in a hotel room?’ Armed with this information, you can explain your ‘no’ without causing unnecessary scenes.
Can You Vape in a Hotel Room?
The Difference Between Vaping and Smoking
Smoking a pipe, cigarette, or cigar involves burning tobacco, which releases tar and other by-products. In comparison, vapes produce vapor, which is closer to steam than smoke. But many vapers enjoy that thick ‘smoke effect’ which to an observer, looks worse than a regular cigarette. This can cause just as much psychological (dis)comfort as lighting rolled tobacco.
From a practical standpoint, vaping indoors is a lot less problematic. The vapors disappear within seconds while smoke from a cigarette or tobacco can linger for up to an hour. Also, a vape smells like its flavors – even if that flavor is tobacco – and the smell will be gone in a few minutes. So even if someone recognizes the scent, it’s not as oppressive as a cigarette.
In terms of property damage, cigarettes, cigars, and pipes are a potential fire hazard, and the ashes can ruin expensive hotel room furnishings. Their accumulated tar and nicotine can also stain surfaces, and the smoke particles get into carpets, rugs, towels, and other fabrics. This can be difficult and expensive to remove, even for experienced housekeeping staff.
So it makes sense that a hotel would prohibit smoking inside their rooms. Vapes barely do any damage and are safe to use indoors. But other hotel guests might still complain, and the hotel can’t afford the PR problems this could cause. But if you’re in a designated smoking room, all the pro-smoking facilities are built into your room, which is why it may cost more.
Smoking rooms in hotels probably have a specialized HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). This may include air purifiers to keep your smoke from leeching into the central system, plus furnishings and bedding that are easier to clean. The room might also have a balcony or air shaft where you can smoke in peace. So you can vape at your pleasure.
Smoking Vs Vaping in Hotels
For the ordinary smoker or vaper, there’s a huge difference between cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes (sometimes called cigalikes), vape pods, vape mods, cannapens, and non-nicotine vapes. But in the US, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) classifies all vapes and e-juices as tobacco products, even if they’re pure flavor and have zero nicotine content.
This becomes a key element of non-smoking policies because it means a hotel can assume their no-smoking ban covers vapes as well. And other hotel patrons and staff can follow that implication, which could put you on the spot for vaping. But some states have specified vapes in their laws by updating and tightening their anti-smoking legislation to remove loopholes.
That’s why you’re better off not vaping in a no-smoking hotel room. It’s not worth the drama, and you could get sued, fined, arrested, and/or kicked out. Sometimes, the trouble will come from other hotel guests who paid for a non-smoking room and are upset that you’re messing with their experience. It’s worse if they have health complications, kids, or a litigious nature.
When a guest or staff member like sees plumes coming out of your room, they won’t stop to confirm whether it’s smoke, steam, or vape fumes. Also, many hotels with no-smoking rules have hi-tech monitoring systems. These include smoke detectors and air quality monitors. A device like that may have a stealth system with a quiet and/or silent alarm for added privacy.
That type of system won’t ring or flash if it detects smoke or vape fumes. Instead, it sends a signal to the remote monitor, usually in form of a text or notification. Then you’ll simply get a phone call or a knock on the door – no time to hide the evidence! In such cases, even if you were vaping in secret, you could still face unpleasant consequences for breaking hotel rules.
The Science of Smoke Alarms and Vaping
As a seasoned vaper, you probably know all the tricks of stealthy vaping. These include stuffing a wet towel under the door, closing the air vents, masking the scent with candles or incense, aiming your fumes at an air filter, and keeping your windows closed. These tips may fool guests in nearby rooms, but they won’t always trick the anti-smoking tech in your room.
If your hotel room is a no-smoking zone, it probably has a top-notch detection system. This will usually include a device (or several devices) loaded with a smoke alarm, ionizer, optical system, and air purifier. These gadgets typically have built-in lasers with infrared signals. If any particle disrupts the signal, whether it’s dust, steam, smoke, or vape fumes, it activates.
This means even if no one can see the plumes from your vape, the remote sensors could alert the central control room and you’ll get busted. Many of these detection units also have an anti-tampering mechanism, so they’ll know if you tried to switch them off, and that’ll get you into even more trouble. In many places, unscrewing or covering smoke alarms is a felony.
What about other devices like hookahs, shisha pipes, or THC vapes? Modern smoke alarms are calibrated to detect THC, and the steam from a hookah can just as easily trigger an alarm that’s set for vapes, so these are equally risky. You might think vaping in the bath will cover up the steam element, but that still leaves the ionizers and optical systems that catch vapes.
Also, the tile and layout of the bathroom mean the smell of your vape will hang around longer than it would in the room, where fabrics will absorb it. Many hotel bathrooms won’t have a sensitive smoke alarm since the shower steam will keep triggering it. And the fan pulls out most of the moist air. But the smell may remain, and housekeeping will probably snitch.
What Happens if you Vape in a Hotel Room?
Vaping indoors is a lot less harmful than cigarettes or cigars, and even the chemicals in a vape are less toxic than tobacco and tar. This means the people around you aren’t as badly affected by second-hand vape fumes. That said, if the hotel has a no-smoking rule, they’ll enforce it. This usually means a steep fine and possibly being kicked out of your room.
In extreme cases, you may be charged for ignoring a smoking ban, which means you could end up in court, or worse. This is especially true if the state has harsh anti-smoking and/or anti-vaping laws. After all, if the hotel lets you slip, it’s bad PR. Other guests could complain and many will call the press or post you on social media for affecting their hotel experience.
In such cases, the hotel will come down hard on you to protect its reputation. That could get messy and expensive since their pockets are way deeper than yours. You’ll find yourself villainized in public as they pull up the worst stats and videos – think of all those clips with backfired vape batteries and health complications. It’s hard to recover from that depiction.
You may be banned from staying at other hotel chains, and even if they let you stay, they’ll probably slap additional charges on your bill to deter other vapers. On the other hand, they might just choose to embarrass you by searching your person, room, or luggage for evidence of vapes and accessories. If the hotel is a no-smoking zone, they have the legal right to do so.
Also, FYI, standard luggage checks and metal detectors can spot a vape because most have metal components and lithium batteries. So if you’re flying, your vape should go in your hand luggage or your pockets. Most airlines will let you carry your vape onto a plane, but they won’t allow it in the cargo bay because the lithium battery carries an explosion risk.
Take Your Vape Outside
Even if the hotel doesn’t fuss about you vaping, they could claim – accurately – that residue from your vape is on the beddings, carpets, drapes, walls, and windows. This means they could legally charge you for the extra cleaning. This is why designated smoking rooms in hotels have tile floors and minimal soft furnishings so they won’t have to clear out the scent.
To avoid all this chaos, you can either pay extra for a smoking hotel room or vape outdoors. If you don’t mind being teased by cigarette smokers, you can even go hang out with them in the hotel’s smoking zone. This will save you money, stress, drama, and potential litigation. Or ask the hotel staff if they know any of vape stores and vape hangouts around the hotel.
FAQs About Vaping in Hotel Rooms
Can You Vape in a Hotel Room?
If it’s a smoking room, yes, and many hotels do have premium rooms that are designated for smokers. These rooms may have air purifiers, enhanced ventilation, deep-cleaning protocols, and convenient positioning so that your smoking – or vaping – doesn’t disrupt other guests. But if it’s a no-smoking room, it probably has air quality monitors and other features that could get you in trouble if you insist on vaping, even if you do it unobtrusively on the down low. Also, if your room is non-smoking, the no-smoking no-vaping policy officially extends to the balcony where other guests can see you vaping, so they could still report your plumes.