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Will a Disposable Vape Set off a Metal Detector?

September 13, 2023

We've all experienced that embarrassing ‘beep, beep, beep’ as you step through a metal detector. Your heart sinks a little as a suspicious security guard directs you to a corner for further screening. Is it my boots? Or have I forgotten something in my pockets? 

While most of us have gotten into the routine of putting our keys and smartphones into the trays before entering detectors, there remains some confusion over disposable vapes. So, let's take a look.

How Do Walk-Through Metal Detectors Work?

As much as it might feel like it, detectors are not there to scold you for accidentally keeping your phone in your pocket. They are principally designed to detect dangerous items, such as explosive devices, firearms, and other weapons, from entering sensitive areas, such as planes, schools, and other public areas. However, they will go off if they detect any metal on a person's body. 

Metal detectors use an innovative technology called pulse induction (PI) to detect metal objects through an arch that people must pass through. On one side of the arch is a coil of wire that sends out short bursts of current, creating a brief magnetic field that lasts only around 30 microseconds before quickly collapsing. 

When no metal is detected, the magnetic field bounces freely back and forth, but when metal appears, the pulse creates an opposite magnetic field in the object, and that alarm goes off. You know the rest.

Do Disposable Vapes Have Metal In Them?

There is now a huge variety of disposable vapes on the market, and the majority have at least some metal in them. Looking at them from the outside, they might seem completely plastic, but disposable vapes often contain small portions of titanium, nickel, chromium, lead, or manganese. 

Likewise, the vape battery will almost certainly contain lithium, a valuable metal now found in laptops, smartphones, electric cars, and many other devices. However, all that said, these metal parts are often tiny, with thick plastic casings around them, making them sometimes undetectable to metal detectors.

So, Can Metal Detectors Detect Disposable Vapes?

It's difficult to give a single answer here because sometimes they can and sometimes they can't. The answer will often depend on what kind of disposable vape you have, but it's important to remember that very few places entirely prohibit you from taking a vape. Vaping itself might be completely out of the question, but simply having one on you is usually fine. 

If this is the case, simply placing your vape on the tray and having it X-rayed will mean you don't need to worry about whether the metal detector goes off. 

There have been several stories about vapes exploding on planes in mid-air, but this is almost always because people had not appropriately disassembled them. Airlines have different rules regarding flying with vapes, so it's always worth checking with them first before heading to security - and certainly before getting on a plane.

If you want to take a vape into a place where it's prohibited, such as a school, you'll need to decide whether it's worth risking losing it by taking it through the metal detector.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Get Through a Metal Detector With a Disposable Vape?

We wouldn't suggest anybody try to smuggle a vape through a detector. If you are legally allowed to pass through with a vape, simply declare it by placing it in the tray, and if it's prohibited, consider leaving it at home. 

Final Thoughts

Vapes come in all shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of metal and plastic components, but many will set off a detector when you pass through it. If the cartridge contains hard plastic or zirconia ceramic, there's a chance it'll get through, but there's no guarantee because of what's beneath the surface. 

Relx has a variety of disposable vapes on offer. While we can't promise a smooth sail through a metal detector, we can guarantee the best quality vaping experience around - and all the latest news and information about vaping and vape technology. 

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