How Can You Tell if Someone is Vaping in Your House?

How Can You Tell if Someone is Vaping in Your House?

January 08, 2024

Vaping has become incredibly popular among all ages. While many have embraced it as an effective method of smoking cessation, that doesn't mean you necessarily want it done in your own home. 

Whether you lease property, have guests, or ask someone to watch the house while on holiday, there are times when you might reasonably start worrying that someone is vaping in your house. If you suspect this is the case, be it a teenager or even an unruly adult, it's a good idea to be sure before throwing accusations around. Instead, look for some of the tell-tale signs. 

What Do Vapes Look and Smell Like?

Typically, the vapour from vapes lacks a strong odour and instead carries a subtle, sweet smell that is influenced by the flavour of the e-liquid used. Vapes vary in their design, shape, and size, often resembling common items such as pens and USB drives, which makes them difficult to recognise at first glance.

Generally, the smell from vaping doesn't linger as cigarette smoke does. It is much less persistent or invasive, becoming virtually unnoticeable after ten minutes unless vaping occurs frequently, making it easier and quicker to remove the smell.

6 Warning Signs Someone is Vaping in Your House

Vaping doesn’t produce a permanent, lingering odour like tobacco, nor does it result in piles of stubbed-out cigarettes. Still, there are ways to spot a person who has been vaping in your house. Here are the warning signs you need to know:

1. Sweet Scent or Vapour in the Air

The vapour from e-liquid looks like cigarette smoke in many ways but dissipates much faster. It doesn’t have the burned stench of cigarettes, but the sweet smell from vaping can last much longer than the vaper might intend. 

Vape juices are typically sweet, so you can expect a similar odour to linger in the air. Depending on the flavour, it can smell like incense, fruit or candy.

2. Finding Strange Items & Devices Around the House

If you find strange devices around the home, it could be the accessories left over from the device. 

Vapes come in all shapes and sizes. Some look remarkably like nondescript USB drives, so you might not immediately recognise what you've found. 

Vapes use separate e-liquid cartridges, which are small vials of liquid. If you find small containers about the size of a USB, it could be an empty cartridge.

3. Increase Water Consumption

Vapers tend to increase water consumption due to dehydration from a chemical in most e-liquids, propylene glycol. This isn't a dangerous chemical, but it does lead to a dry mouth and dehydration. In the most severe cases, dehydration can leave people with dark rings around their eyes.

4. Vaper's Cough or Mouth Sores

A vaping cough sounds like a smoker's cough and results from irritated lungs. Heavy users may develop a cough, especially if they use e-liquids with nicotine. If you hear somebody in your house coughing repeatedly over a sustained period, this could be a sign of vaping — but it could also simply be a cough. 

Mouth sores are another sign you can look out for because they tend not to heal properly if somebody constantly coughs. Vaping isn't the only reason for mouth sores, which can be common among the young and the consequence of illness. However, persistent sores that are not healing might be cause for concern.

5. Unusual Behaviour 

Anybody who has ever lived under the same roof as a teenager will know that unusual behaviour is part of their daily routine. However, some signs are more glaring than others. 

If somebody makes unusually frequent trips to the bathroom or makes other excuses to leave a room, they might be sneaking off to vape. It could be that guilt or fear of getting caught is making your teen act suspiciously. 

Also, look out for irritability that can sometimes come with nicotine use and if somebody seems to be constantly searching for something. It could always be their phone, but it could be their vape. 

Other odd behaviour might be if somebody is secretly vaping in the bathroom; they might turn on the shower to mask the noise or place a towel at the bottom of the door to prevent vapour from escaping.

Spotting unusual behaviour requires vigilance, but it’s worth the extra caution, especially if you have teenagers. As parents around the country are raising the alarm about children vaping, we all have to do our part to ensure the people vaping in the house are of legal age and those with your permission. 

6. Nosebleeds & Other Physical Symptoms

Nosebleeds can occur for various reasons, including infection, allergies, and nose-picking, but they can also be a sign of vaping. Nosebleeds, also referred to as epistaxis, are caused when the blood vessels in the lining of the nose burst, sending blood out of the only available exit. 

While nosebleeds are common among children and generally nothing to worry about, an adult experiencing frequent nosebleeds should be concerned. It could be an illness, but it could also result from vaping. The propylene glycol in the e-liquid dries up the moisture in your sinuses, which can cause nosebleeds. If somebody in the house is constantly experiencing nosebleeds, it needs immediate attention, whether medically or a chat about vaping.

Apart from nosebleeds, several other physical symptoms might point to the use of vapes. These include dry or cracked skin, shortness of breath, and vaper's tongue (a loss of taste). 

Other more serious issues may include sleep disorders, depression, emotional problems, hyperactivity, and poor coordination.

Does Vaping Indoors Leave a Lasting Smell?

Vaping in a room can leave a slight odour, although less pungent than the harshness of cigarette smoke. Vaping vaporises e-liquid at a lower temperature than cigarettes burn, resulting in a smell that, while less intense, does not linger as traditional cigarette smoke does.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Tell if Someone Vapes in a Room?

If someone has used a vape in the room in the past few minutes, you may be able to smell a sweet scent. However, besides the scent, it will be difficult to detect since the vapour itself typically dissipates after a few minutes.

Does Vaping Leave a Smell in the House?

Vaping generally leaves a fruity, sweet smell in the house but is virtually undetectable after ten minutes. However, if somebody is constantly vaping, it's almost impossible not to notice.

How Can You Tell if Someone Is Secretly Vaping?

The smell is probably the best way to tell if somebody is secretly vaping, but dry cough, nosebleeds, increased water consumption, and unusual behaviour are also signs.


If you suspect somebody is vaping in your house, look out for the signs mentioned above. Only those of legal age should vape, and in someone’s home, it should be with the homeowner's permission. 

RELX is committed to safe and ethical vape use. As a leading supplier of vaping devices, we do our part to be sure everyone vapes responsibly.

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